Provision of basic amenities and essential facilities to all people as well as creation of infrastructure are crucial for the country to grow into a strong economy. Infrastructure is key to meet the needs of society, be it for promotion of new businesses, improving job avenues and livelihood opportunities, or providing proper transport facilities.
So, Narendra Modi, who became Prime Minister in 2014 with a mission to make India a developed nation, has been focusing on key spheres impacting development all these years. The development of national highways, airports, and seaports, among other projects, would spur all-round development in the economy. During the previous regimes, development was limited to papers; now it is visible everywhere.
The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway and the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, inaugurated recently by Modi, stand as the testimony to the fast-tracked development process. The first phase of the 246-km-long Delhi-Dausa-Lalasot section of the expressway will reduce travel time from Delhi to Jaipur by about 3.5 hours. The expressway, along with related projects,would generate a lot of employment. The expressway project, taken up at a cost of Rs 1 lakh crore, is part of the Union Government’s Bharata Mala Project, which would link all main cities in the country. The project envisages conversion of several state highways into national highways. The 1506-km-long Western Dedicated Transport Corridor is a broad gaugerailway line that will expedite movement of fertilizers, food grains, coal, iron, steel, cement, salt and other commodities across the nation. The corridor will help bring down the prices of those commodities and improve their production and marketing.
Big industrialists are being encouraged to help make India developed as visualized by Modi. Noted political scientist Asutosh Varshini, in an article to a magazine, has described them as national heroes. According to him, Modi is following the strategy of South Korea, which had promoted Samsung, Hyundai and LG, making them international brands.
The Gujarat model has become the benchmark for the rest of the country, considering that the state government has been encouraging industrialists there. Under the current regime, many industrialists have got opportunities to develop the country. The Tatas, having played a pivotal role in development of the country, have just placed orders for 470 aircraft from Boeing of the USA for the Air India. The day when Air India, whose accumulated losses total Rs 50,000 crore, becomes profitable is not far away. Broadband internet connectivity has become less expensive in the country because of the encouragement given by the Modi government to the Digital India Stack. Thanks to UPI, the role of cash transactions has diminished over the years.
The Union Budget for 2023 has given priority to the creation of infrastructure by increasing allocations to capital expenditure by 33 per cent and making allocations up to Rs 10 lakh crore under the head of the account. There is a vital link between creation of infrastructure and generation of employment. At a Rozgar mela in Uttarakhand, Modi declared that employment opportunities were being created through digital India and interlinking of highwaysto stop migration of villagers to urban areas. Besides, loans are being extended under PM Mudra Yojna to enable youth to stand on their legs. So far, 8 crore youth have become owners of small and micro organisations running dhabas, shops, guest houses and homestay facilities. They include youth and women from SCs, STs, and OBC communities. Through the Pradhan Mantri Kausal Vikas Yojna, lakhsof youth would be imparted skills over the next three years. A sum of Rs 3,517 crore has been allocated in the Budget for the purpose.
This reflects the commitment of the Union government for development, public welfare and employment generation. However, some states are out to derail the development process, particularly Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao described the Union Budget as ‘a mere joke’. While the growth of GDP is put at 7%, the GSDP of Telangana has been decreasing year after year. The total borrowings of the Government of Telangana in 2014 was Rs 60,000 crore. But it escalated to Rs 3 lakh crore, while the income of the KCR family increased by several thousands of crores.
What does KCR know about the country’s economy as he is focused on strengthening the finances of his family?
Likewise, AP Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy has put a total debt burden of Rs 10 lakh crore on the people of AP.
The official borrowings of the Government of AP have been put at Rs 4.5 lakh crore, but the unofficial borrowings have crossed Rs 5.5 lakh crore. That is why Modi has cautioned that states need to be ethical in handling economic priorities.
Time is now ripe for people to get rid of anti-development forces that have beenputting hurdles on the country’s current path of development.