NEW DELHI, March 4 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that India’s infrastructure development which is the driving force of the economy needs to move in “top gear” to help the country become a developed nation by 2047.
Addressing a post-budget webinar, Modi said that by focussing on infrastructure development, which is the driving force of the economy, India will achieve the target of becoming a developed nation by 2047.
“Infrastructure development is the driving force of the country’s economy…Now we have to improve our speed and move in top gear,” he said while recalling the initiatives taken by his government to improve the health of the country’s infrastructure.
The subject of the webinar was ‘Infrastructure and Investment: Improving logistic efficiency with PM Gatishakti National Master Plan’. Modi is holding a series of webinar to delve upon various aspects of the Union Budget 2023-24 presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Lok Sabha on February 1.
He said that the latest Budget will give new energy to infrastructure. He said India’s capital expenditure or capex has increased five times compared to 2013-14 and the government is moving with a target of investing Rs 110 lakh crore under the National Infrastructure Pipeline.
“This is a time of new responsibilities, new possibilities and bold decisions for every stakeholder,” he emphasised.
The prime minister told the gathering that his government is working to create modern infrastructure in all areas such as roads, railways, ports and airports. It would help in enhancing competitiveness of businesses and reduce logistics cost.
“Infrastructure has always been important in the development of any country. Those who study the history related to infrastructure know this very well,” Modi said as he cited several examples from India.
Modi further said that for decades a thinking dominated in India that poverty is a virtue and as a result earlier governments faced difficulty in investing in the country’s infrastructure.
“Our government has not only pulled the country out of this thinking, but it is also making record investments on modern infrastructure,” he said.
As a result, he said, average annual construction of national highways has nearly doubled since 2014, and electrification of railway lines has increased to 4,000 route kilometers from 600 route kilometers. He also highlighted that the number of airports has increased to around 150 from 74 in 2014.
Modi said PM Gati Shakti Master Plan is a critical tool that integrates economic and infrastructural planning with development and added “Gati Shakti National Master Plan is going to change the face of India’s infrastructure and its multimodal logistics”.
The prime minister also stressed that the results of the PM Gati Shakti Master Plan are becoming visible.
“With quality and multimodal infrastructure, our logistic cost is going to reduce further in the days to come. This will have a positive impact on the goods made in India, on the competence of our products. Along with the logistics sector, there will be a lot of improvement in ease of living and ease of doing business,” he added.
Modi also emphasised that the robustness of India’s physical infrastructure is equally important for the strengthening of the country’s social infrastructure. He said a strong social infrastructure will lead to more talented and skilled youth.
The Prime Minister stressed the need for skill development, project management, financial skills and entrepreneurship to accomplish this goal. He also underlined the need to develop a mechanism for skill forecasting that will help small and big industries from different sectors while also benefiting the human resource pool of the country.
The PM Gati Shakti – National Master Plan is being implemented with an aim to break departmental silos and bring in more holistic and integrated planning and execution of projects with a view to address the issues of multi-modal and last-mile connectivities.