Updated: June 4, 2022 1:16:26 am
MAKING A strong pitch for the state that he represents in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked the ground-breaking ceremony of the UP Investors Summit in Lucknow on Friday by laying the foundation for 1,406 projects worth Rs 80,000 crore.
Modi, who is the Varanasi MP, announced the investment while addressing a gathering that included Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Gautam Adani of Adani Group, Kumar Mangalam Birla of Aditya Birla Group, Niranjan Hiranandani of Hiranandani Communities and Matthieu Eyries of Paris-based Air Liquide.
In his address, Modi thanked investors for having “trusted the power of UP’s youth” who “will be the biggest beneficiaries” of the investment. “This record investment will create opportunities for thousands of jobs in the state. Along with India, it shows the increasing trust in the country’s and UP’s growth story,” he said.
“It is UP that will give momentum to India’s growth story in the 21st century,” he said.
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Making a case for more investment in the state, Modi praised UP’s administration for stepping up to the challenge — and listed key projects coming up in the state such as the eastern and western freight corridors, and two multi-modal logistics transport hubs in Greater Noida and Varanasi, apart from those in the defence sector.
He identified “chemical-free natural farming” along the Ganga and food processing as “golden opportunities”.
The Prime Minister also spoke about India’s global standing and pitched the nation as a “reliable partner”. “The current global situation presents a big opportunity for us. The world is looking for a reliable partner, and only democratic India has the capability to accept the challenge. Today, the world is seeing India’s potential and also praising its performance,” he said.
“India didn’t stop even during the pandemic, rather it stepped up the pace of reforms. We are seeing the results today. We are the fastest growing economy in the G-20 (group of nations). Today, India is No.2 on the Global Retail Index. India is the third largest energy consumer in the world. In the year gone by, FDI worth $84 billion has come from over 100 countries. In the last financial year, India exported merchandise worth…Rs 30 lakh crore and set a record,” he said.
Pointing to the past eight years under the NDA government, Modi said: “In this period…we have moved ahead with the mantra of reform, perform, and transform. We have given emphasis on policy stability, coordination and ease of doing business.”
He said that with law and order improving in UP, investors’ confidence has increased. “There is a good atmosphere for business. In the past few years, administrative power and governance have improved here,” said Modi.
Noting that the Ganga flows through 25-30 districts of the state, covering around 11,000 km, he picked out opportunities in the agri sector with the Union Budget providing for a natural farming corridor on both sides of the river on stretches of 5 km each — in addition to the state government’s food processing policy.
Referring to the defence sector, he said: “Under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat programme, we have taken a decision with a lot of courage and identified 300 items that we will not be bringing from abroad. These items are related to military equipment. So those who want to manufacture in the defence sector, there are these 300 items and the market for them is available,” said Modi.
Speaking about infrastructure, he said that the stretch on which work on expressways in UP is ongoing is a “record” in itself. “The modern network of expressways will connect different economic zones of UP. Very soon, the identification of UP will also be with modern railway infrastructure. The eastern and western dedicated freight corridors are going to be joined. Along with Jewar, UP’s five international airports will improve international connectivity here,” said Modi.
According to him, an indicator of the pace at which India has progressed is the “digital revolution”. “In 2014, there were only 6.5 crore broadband subscribers. Today, their number has passed 78 crore. In 2014, one GB data was around Rs 200. Today, it is worth Rs 11-12. India is among the few countries where data is so cheap,” he said.
“In 2014, there was optical fiber covering 11 lakh km. Today, the length of optical fiber has crossed 28 lakh km. In 2014, there were less than 100 gram panchayats where optical fiber had reached. Today, the number of gram panchayats connected with optical fiber has crossed 1.75 lakh. In 2014, the country had 90,000 common service centres, today there are more than 4 lakh,” he said. “Today, 40 per cent of digital transactions in the world are happening in India. Any Indian would be proud of this; an India which people once called illiterate is doing this.”
He said there were 100 startups in India before 2014, while the number of registered start-ups is near 70,000 today.
Striking a personal note in between, Modi said: “I am the MP of Kashi (Varanasi)… Even though all of you are very busy, take out time and see my Kashi. It has changed a lot. It is a city of the world which, with its ancient power, can be decorated in new colours and forms. This is a living example of UP’s power.”
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