During his Independence Day speech on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India will launch a Rs 100 lakh crore infrastructure plan to create jobs. However, the prime minister had announced the same scheme in his two previous Independence Day speeches in 2019 and 2020 as well.
The infrastructure programme, called “Gati Shakti”, will boost the Indian economy, Modi said from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort in Delhi.
Many social media users, including Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, posted videos of his earlier speeches and criticised him for rehashing the same scheme for three years in a row.
“Truly said – What’s there in making empty promises,” Surjewala tweeted. “But now even his empty promises are old ones.”
“We have decided to invest 100 lakh crore rupees for modern infrastructure in this time period,” the prime minister had said in 2019. “This will generate employment, will develop new systems and various aspirations will be met.”
In 2020, Modi gave a name to the programme – the National Infrastructure Pipeline Project – and said that Rs 110 lakh crore spent on it will provide “fresh momentum to the overall infrastructure development of the country”.
On Sunday, he rechristened the synonymous Rs 100 lakh crore infrastructure investment plan as the “Gati Shakti” project.
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram also took a swipe at Modi’s announcements.
In series of tweets about the prime minister’s speeches, he said: “India is thrice blessed. We now have a Rs 300 lakh crore plan that will be launched in the near future. Be happy that the size of the Infrastructure Plan is growing faster every year than the GDP [Gross Domestic Product].”
A number of other announcements made by Modi on Sunday were also related to schemes and initiatives that are already in place, The Hindu reported.
The prime minister said that all the defence ministry-run sainik schools in the country will now be open for girls also. However, in 2019 itself, the defence ministry had approved admission of girls in five sainik schools.
The then Minister of State for Defence Shripad Yesso Naik had said that the decision to admit girls in all 31 sainik schools will be implemented in a “time-bound action plan”. In March, the government announced that all girls will get admission in all sainik schools from the academic session 2021-’22.
Modi announced the government’s plans to fortify rice with iron and vitamins before distributing it in ration shops and at schools for the mid-day meal scheme. However, former Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had announced a pilot project for distribution of fortified rice in 2019.
The National Hydrogen Mission, which the prime minister said would make India a global hub for the production and export of the gas, was also announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech this year, The Hindu reported.
On Sunday, Congress MP and Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge said that the country had been listening to same speeches from the prime minister for seven years.
“He announces new schemes but these are never implemented or seen on the ground...He says a lot of things but never adheres to them,” Kharge told reporters.