Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced a new and bigger plan to improve conditions in India amid the outbreak of COVID-19 during his speech at 75th day of Indian independence.
Image courtesy of Adnan Abidi and Reuters
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi said in a speech on the 75th day of Indian independence that his government will launch “Gati Shakti”, a nationwide plan worth 100 trillion rupees or USD 1.35 trillion to boost the economy and to develop the infrastructure by 100 per cent, according to a recent report by Aljazeera.
Modi told listeners in his speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort in New Delhi, “From free cooking gas to health insurance schemes, the poor of the nation know the strength of the government schemes. These schemes have expanded rapidly in recent times, but now we have to move toward saturation… One hundred percent of villages should have roads, 100 percent of households should have a bank account, while 100 percent of eligible persons should get insurance, pension, and housing schemes. We have to operate on a cent-per-cent mode… All manufacturers should target the global market. India should become the hub of global market”.
However, his detractors on Indian social media and the opposition claimed that his government had announced similar plans on infrastructure previously.
The country with the third-largest economy in Asia slumped by 7.3 per cent in the financial year that ended in March, its worst recession since independence as restrictions due to the outbreak hamper the economy and drove millions out of jobs.
Wearing his colorful turban for the day of independence that became a trademark, Modi outlined the accomplishments of his government and praised the Indian campaign for vaccinations against coronavirus, adding, “Despite all the efforts, we have not been able to save many people. So many children lost their support system, their loved ones. This unbearable pain will stay with us forever”.
India follows the United States in having the most severe cases of COVID-19 with more than 32 million and 431,225 deaths, with many of them during an intense resurgence of COVID-19 between April and June.
The United Kingdom granted independence to India in 1947 August 15 as a monarchy within the British Commonwealth, before it become a republic three years later. The country toned down celebrations for the day for the second time as it braces for the third wave of the outbreak.
Modi claimed that India was dealing with both “terrorism” and “expansionism” that local media and pundits on foreign policy regard as a reference to Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China.
Indian agencies for security blame Pakistan for supporting attackers in certain areas of India such as the Indian-administered Kashmir.
“Expansionism” referred to claims of intrusions by the forces of the PRC and an ongoing standoff around Ladakh after skirmishes commenced in June 2020, the deadliest since the war between them in 1962.
Official records reported that India and China lost 20 and four soldiers respectively, preceding a large build-up of troops and artillery as well as smaller skirmishes.