Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister expressed happiness that hundreds of stakeholders are taking part in today’s webinar along with more than 700 CEOs and MDs by recognising its importance. The Prime Minister expressed confidence that all the sector experts and various stakeholders will make this webinar successful and effective.
The Prime Minister said that this year’s Budget will give new energy to infrastructure. The Prime Minister noted the praise for the Budget and its strategic decisions by the experts and major media houses. He informed that India’s Capex has increased 5 times compared to 2013-14 and the government is moving with a target of investing 110 lakh crore rupees under the National Infrastructure Pipeline. “This is a time of new responsibilities, new possibilities and bold decisions for every stakeholder”. The Prime Minister emphasized.
“Infrastructure has a significant role to play in the sustainable development of any country along with development while keeping the needs of the future in mind”, the Prime Minister remarked. He underlined that those who have knowledge of history related to infrastructure are well-versed with this fact. He cited the construction of Uttarapath by Chandragupta Maurya which was carried forward by Ashoka and later upgraded by Sher Shah Suri. He informed that it was the Britishers who turned it into G T Road. “The importance of highways has been acknowledged for centuries in India”, the Prime Minister said. Referring to riverfronts and waterways, the Prime Minister gave the example of the Ghats of Banaras which were directly connected to Kolkata via waterways. The Prime Minister also gave the example of the still operational, 2 thousand-year-old Kallanai dam of Tamil Nadu.
Noting the obstacles that came in the way of investments in the infrastructural development of the country by previous governments, the Prime Minister highlighted the prevailing mentality that poverty is a virtue. He underlined that the present government has not only been successful in eliminating this mentality but also in making record investments in modern infrastructure.
The Prime Minister elaborated on the improvement in this situation and said that the average construction of National Highways has nearly doubled compared to what it was before 2014. Similarly, only 600 route km of railway track was electrified per year before 2014 which is now reaching 4000 km per year. He further added that the number of airports and seaport capacity has doubled as well.
“Infrastructure development is the driving force of the country’s economy”, the Prime Minister remarked as he pointed out that India will achieve the target of becoming a developed nation by 2047 by following this very path. “Now we have to improve our speed and move in top gear”, he said. Noting that PM Gati Shakti Master Plan is a critical tool that integrates economic and infrastructural planning with development, the Prime Minister said, “Gati Shakti National Master Plan is going to change the face of India’s infrastructure and its multimodal logistics.”
The Prime Minister noted that the results of the PM Gati Shakti Master Plan are becoming visible. “We have identified the gaps that were impacting the logistics efficiency. That is why, in this year’s Budget, 100, critical projects have been prioritized and 75,000 crore rupees have been allocated. “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, inviting the participation of the private sector in the sector.
Elaborating on the role of the states, the Prime Minister informed about the one-year extension of interest-free loans up to 50 years loans and Budgetary expenditure for this has been increased to the tune of 30 per cent.
The Prime Minister asked the participants to find ways to develop a mechanism for an advanced forecast of the needs of their sectors as various materials are needed for infrastructure development. “We need an integrated approach so that the roadmap for the future remains clear. PM Gati-Shakti National Master Plan has a big role in this”, he said emphasizing the need to integrate the concept of circular economy with the sector.
The Prime Minister recalled his experience after the earthquake in Kutch and explained how an entirely new approach to developing Kutch was adopted after the rescue work. He said that infrastructure-led development of the region, instead of politically expedient quick fixes, turned it into a vibrant hub of economic activity.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the robustness of India’s physical infrastructure is equally important for the strengthening of the country’s social infrastructure. He underlined that a strong social infrastructure will lead to more talented and skilled youth who will come forward to serve the nation. The Prime Minister stressed the need for skill development, project management, financial skills and entrepreneurship to accomplish this goal. He also addressed 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. He also urged various ministries in the governments to work at a fast pace in this direction.
Noting the significance of the suggestions of every stakeholder in this webinar, the Prime Minister elaborated that they are not just contributing to the development of the nation but also providing momentum to the growth engine of India. He highlighted that infrastructural development is not limited to rail, road, ports, and airports anymore but as part of this year’s Budget, the Prime Minister said that huge projects have been taken up for storing the produce of the farmers in villages. He also gave examples of wellness centers being developed in the cities and villages, new railway stations, and pucca houses being delivered to every family.
Concluding the address, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that the views, suggestions and experiences of all stakeholders will help in the fast and effective implementation of this year’s Budget.
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