© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation during Independence Day celebrations at the historic Red Fort in Delhi, India on Aug. 15, 2020. REUTERS / Adnan Abidi
From Aftab Ahmed
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India will launch a 100 trillion rupee ($ 1.35 trillion) national infrastructure plan that will help create jobs and expand the use of cleaner fuels to meet climate goals of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday.
The infrastructure program called “Gati Shakti” will help increase the productivity of industries and stimulate the economy, Modi said during his speech at the Independence Day celebrations in New Delhi.
“We are going to put a master plan in motion for Gati Shakti, a big program … (it) will create jobs for hundreds of thousands,” said Modi from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort in the capital.
Modi did not reveal details of the plan, but said the plan will help local manufacturers compete globally and create new avenues for future economic growth.
Strengthening the infrastructure in Asia’s third largest economy is at the heart of Modi’s plan to reclaim the country from a sharp economic decline exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the past fiscal year, India’s economic output fell by a record 7.3% and a second wave of COVID-19 has delayed economic recovery.
The prime minister has also set a goal of becoming energy independent by 2047, and said the goal could be achieved through a mix of electromobility, moving to a gas-based economy and expanding the country into a hub for hydrogen production.
Modi said the country spends more than Rs.12 trillion annually on energy imports and energy independence is critical as he also announced the launch of a national hydrogen mission to promote the government’s clean energy plans.
“India is rapidly moving towards its climate goals,” he said.
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