Addressing the nation on the occasion of 73rd Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a massive investment of Rs 100 lakh crore to develop modern infrastructure that will help double the size of the economy to $5 trillion in the next five years.
Addressing the nation from the Red Fort, the Prime Minister said: “We cannot make incremental changes anymore. We should take high leaps now. This country’s infrastructure needs to be revamped. Hence, we have decided to invest Rs 100 lakh crore for infrastructure.”
He said reforms will continue to be ushered in to help India break into top 50 countries on the ease of doing business ranking.
“To some the target of nearly doubling the size of Indian economy to $5 trillion in five years may seem difficult. But when we see that we have added $1 trillion to the economy in five years, this target seems achievable,” PM Modi said.
PM Modi said political stability provides a unique opportunity for India to grow. He referred to reforms such as GST and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) for aiding the growth process.
PM added that the era of policy paralysis has ended and that the Centre is delivering policy-based governance that has helped catapult the country from 142nd place among 190 nations on the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking in 2014 to 77th position this year.
The Prime Minister said that 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.
Emphasising on quality export products, he said, the 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. May more export hubs emerge. Our guiding principle is Zero Defect, Zero Effect,” he said.
The Prime Minister further said that the fundamentals of the Indian economy are strong.
“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 further said that wealth creation is a great national service and urged the nation to not see wealth creators with suspicion.
“Wealth creation is absolutely essential. Those who create wealth are India’s wealth and we respect them,” PM Modi said.
He also stressed on the need to give priority to “Made in India” products and asked the people to think of consuming local products, improving rural economy and the MSME sector.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke on encouraging the tourism sector.
“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.
India has much to offer, he added.
Presenting the Union Budget on July 5, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that India will grow to become a $3 trillion economy in the current year. She further said that India has the capacity to reach $5 trillion in the next few years.
Earlier in June, while addressing the fifth governing council meeting of the Niti Aayog, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the goal to make India a 5-trillion dollar economy by 2024 is challenging, but achievable with the concerted efforts of all states.
India was ranked 142nd among 190 nations when PM Modi took office in 2014. Four years of reform pushed up India’s rank to 100th in the World Bank’s ”Doing Business” 2018 report. It was 130th in 2017 when India was ranked lower than Iran and Uganda.
In its annual ”Doing Business” 2019 report, India secured 77th position. New Zealand tops the list, followed by Singapore, Denmark and Hong Kong. The United States is placed at 8th and China ranked 46th. Neighbouring Pakistan is placed at 136.
India has improved its ranking by 53 positions in the last two years and 65 places in four years since 2014.
The World Bank ranks 190 countries based on 10 parameters, including starting a business, construction permits, getting electricity, getting credit, paying taxes, trade across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.
PM Modi covered a host of issues, ranging from his government’s landmark decision on Jammu and Kashmir to the state of economy.
With today’s address, Modi equaled former BJP PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s record of six Independence Day speeches.