New $1.35tn infrastructure plan will create jobs and help attain climate goals, says Modi India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi on Sunday (15) said that the country will launch a Rs 100 trillion ($1.35tn) national infrastructure plan that will help generate jobs and expand the use of cleaner fuels to achieve the country’s climate goals.
During his speech at the Independence Day celebrations in New Delhi, Modi said the infrastructure programme, called “Gati Shakti”, will help boost the productivity of industries and boost the economy.
“We will launch a masterplan for Gati Shakti, a big programme … (it) will create job opportunities for hundreds of thousands,” Modi said from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort in the capital city.
While Modi did not announce details of the plan, he said the plan will help local manufacturers compete globally and create new avenues of future economic growth.
Boosting infrastructure in Asia’s third-largest economy is at the heart of Modi’s plan to pull back the country from a sharp economic decline worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the last fiscal year, India’s economic output fell by a record 7.3 per cent and the second wave of Covid-19 has delayed economic recovery.
The prime minister also set a target to become energy independent by 2047, saying the goal can be achieved through a mix of electric mobility, moving to a gas-based economy and making the country a hub for hydrogen production.
Modi said the country spends more than Rs 12tn ($162bn) annually on energy imports and becoming energy independent was critical.
He also announced the launch of a National Hydrogen Mission to boost the government’s clean energy plans.
“India is moving fast towards achieving its climate goals,” he said.
Fight against Covid
Modi praised scientists, doctors, paramedical staff among others while he mentioning about the country’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
He lauded those involved in vaccine manufacturing, saying India did not have to depend on others for vaccines due to their efforts.
“We can say with pride that the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccination programme is going on in India. More than 540m people have already taken the vaccine,” he said.
Modi said had India not developed its own vaccine, its supply from outside would have been uncertain.
“The people of India exercised restraint and fought the pandemic with a lot of patience. We had many challenges. But in every field, we countrymen have worked at an extraordinary pace,” the prime minister said.
“It is the result of the strength of our scientists, our entrepreneurs that today we do not have to depend on any other country for Covid-19 vaccine.”