India@72: Modi unveils Rs100-trillion infrastructure upgrade for $5 trillion economy

Pitching for a “high jump” in India’s economic growth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled plans for massive infrastructure spending running into billions of dollars, which will accelerate realisation of the stated goal of creating a $5 trillion economy.

In his speech on the country’s 73rd Independence Day, Modi fleshed out his plans for spurring India’s economic resurgence that includes making policy environment more predictable and promoting ‘Make in India’ with special emphasis on rural economy, and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“In the last 70 years we became a 2 trillion-dollar economy, but in the last five years, we added 1 trillion dollars to the economy. This gives me the confidence of becoming a $5 trillion economy in the coming years,” Mr Modi, sporting a colourful turban, spokes from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort in Delhi.

Stressing that the fundamentals of the Indian economy are “very strong”, Mr Modi spoke about growing global confidence in India’s economic trajectory. “Today, the government in India is stable, policy regime is predictable…the world is eager to explore trade with India. We are working to keep prices under check and increase development,” he said.

High Jump

“India does not want incremental progress. A high jump is needed; our thought process has to be expanded. We have to keep in mind global best practices and build good systems,” he said.

“Time has come to think about how we can boost exports. Each district of India has so much to offer. Let us make local products attractive,” he said.

Underlining the potential of tourism in boosting the country’s economy, the prime minister said: “I know people travel abroad for holidays but can we think of visiting at least 15 tourist destinations across India before 2022, when we mark 75 years of freedom,” he said.

Alluding to surging expectations of people, Mr Modi sought to dispel criticism about the government’s alleged ant-business policies. “Wealth creation is a great national service. Let us never see wealth creators with suspicion. Only when wealth is created, wealth will be distributed.”

“Wealth creation is absolutely essential. Those who create wealth are India’s wealth and we respect them.”

“This is Modi’s first Independence Day speech after winning a second term. He has laid down an ambitious agenda for India’s economic transformation by announcing plans to invest over Rs 100 lakh crore in the country’s infrastructure. He has also reiterated his government’s commitment to achieving a $5 trillion economy,” said Mr Manish Chand, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, India and World magazine and India Writes Network. “Mr Modi has rightfully identified scaling up India’s economy as the top priority in his second term as he knows too well that the country’s global stature depends on its economic weight,” he said.