Rise in capex will create jobs, bring in more investment: PM Modi’s address to BJP after Budget

STRONGLY criticised by the Opposition for not addressing the needs of the poor, those who suffered job and income losses, and the small enterprises during the last two years of the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday told BJP workers that the massive four-fold jump in capital spending compared with 2013-14, will bring more investment and open multiple job avenues for the youth.

The Prime Minister’s remarks at a BJP symposium on Atmanirbhar Arthavyavastha (self-reliant economy), a day after the presentation of the Union Budget for 2022-23, were intended to explain its key proposals and their impact to party workers across the country, especially those in the five states going to Assembly polls this month.

Turning the Opposition’s argument over its head, Modi said, “The most special and unique aspect of the Budget this year is public investment. At Rs 7.5 lakh crore in 2022-23, It is four times more than the UPA government’s Rs 1.87 lakh crore in 2013-14.” Urging party workers to carry this message to the masses, he said, “When the government incurs such a huge expenditure, it will bring more investment, expand modern infrastructure, and create a positive impact among iron and cement producers… It will create many job opportunities as well.”

He said the government’s decision to spend so much will eventually provide relief to the common man, making his life easier and better. Elaborating the step up in capex for the workers, he said, “You try and understand this government’s work. In 2014, there were 90,000 km of national highways — these were built over 70 years; but in the last seven years, we built 50,000 km national highways… the highways not only result in better connectivity between villages and cities, but also bring new industries, in every sector, creating lakhs of new jobs.”

In the early days, Modi pointed out, villages came to life along river belts; but people now move to areas where there are highways, infrastructure and internet. “With logistics support, farmers are able to sell fruits and vegetables in markets more easily. Four multi-modal logistics parks over the next four years, 100 Gati Shakti cargo terminals over the next three years will ensure higher exports. This means higher production and more jobs,” he said.

Listing initiatives including plans to roll out 5G technology and schemes for farmers, the Prime Minister said the fundamentals of the economy were strong and the nation was moving in the right direction. The Budget, he said, has allocated Rs 48,000 crore to build 80 lakh houses for the poor, which would turn them into “lakhpatis”.

“In the last seven years, we have given three crore poor people ‘pucca’ houses, and made them ‘lakhpatis’. Those who lived in slums have their own houses. Our government has increased the price and size of these houses so that there is space for the education of children. Most of the houses are in the name of women. A house will change their life,” he said.

In the post-pandemic world, a new order is likely to emerge and the initial indicators, he said, are already visible. It is imperative for India to change at a rapid pace to emerge as a self-reliant nation, he said. “This Budget has several steps to take India on the road to modernisation. In the last seven years, the decisions taken are continuously enlarging the Indian economy. Seven-eight years ago, India’s GDP was Rs 1.10 lakh crore. Today, our GDP is nearly Rs 2.30 lakh crore,” he told party workers.

“This Budget focuses on the poor, middle class and youth and aims to provide them with basic necessities. Our government is working on the provision of basic facilities,” he said. Migration from border villages, he said, is not good for national security and the Budget has provisions to develop “vibrant villages” on the border.

The programme to build infrastructure and other amenities, announced in the Budget, as well as job opportunities would not only benefit people in the border villages of Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh but also add to the security aspect, Modi said.

He said the government plans to impart National Cadet Corps training to youth in border villages and will help them join the armed forces.

He targeted Opposition parties for spreading “misconception” about minimum support price and said his government had made record procurement of farm produce, benefitting crores of farmers. “Farmers are expected to get Rs 1.5 lakh crore as MSP for paddy alone this season,” he said.

Modi said the digital rupee will open up new opportunities for the FinTech sector. Stating that India will soon be introducing digital currency to keep pace with the rapidly changing financial sector that is increasingly dealing with cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other forms of digital assets, the Prime Minister said, “Digital payments will be regulated, much like standard currency is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)… Such payments are more secure, efficient, and safe, and go a long way towards paving the way for a global digital payments’ infrastructure.”

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