Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that his government will achieve its goal of becoming a $5-trillion economy in the next five years. Modi made the remarks while launching the Bharatiya Janata Party’s membership drive in Varanasi.

“Yesterday [Friday], on TV and today in newspapers, you must have heard and read about the goal of $5-trillion economy,” the prime minister said, addressing party workers. “It is very important for you all to understand what $5-trillion economy means and how it is connected to every Indian citizen. There is a saying in English: ‘size of the cake matters’, meaning, the bigger the cake, the bigger the slice people will get. That is why we have goal of a $5-trillion dollar economy,”

“We have presented the confidence that we have stepped in the field with a vision of coming 10 years,” Modi said. This is the prime minister’s first visit to his constituency after taking oath for the second time.

“The economy will not pick up pace unless infrastructure is good. We are building infrastructure from crop storages in villages to modern facilities in cities,” he added. “Highway, railway, airways, waterways, i-ways, digital infrastructure, broadband in villages... Rs 100 lakh crore will be invested in five years.”

“India spends Rs 5 lakh to 6 lakh crore every year on oil imports, on petrol and diesel. So if it is reduced, it will be a big relief to the country,” he said, justifying the government’s decision to increase the prices of petrol and diesel.

Modi criticised those who questioned the government’s plans as presented in the Union Budget. “Only professional pessimists question $5-trillion economy goal. These are the people to whom if you go to seek a solution for a problem, they instead confuse you even more,” the prime minister said.

“The country needs to be wary of these pessimists,” the prime minister said.

Modi said a “New India” was on the threshold of sprinting forward and recited a few couplets in Hindi. He said challenges before a person also offer immense opportunities to surmount them and every person’s contribution in the development of the country will be a true gift for India.

Modi unveiled a statue a former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri at the Varanasi airport. Sons of the former prime minister, Anil Shastri and Sunil Shastri, were also present at the venue along with Uttar Pradesh minister Siddharth Nath Singh, who is also related to the former prime minister.

BJP workers have begun a massive initiative to add 36 lakh new members in Uttar Pradesh alone under the membership drive. The prime minister started off the drive by welcoming 11 prominent members from various sections of the society, News18 reported.

“Apart from launching the membership drive, PM Modi also launched a plantation drive which aims at planting 27 lakh saplings,” News18 quoted BJP Spokesperson for the Kashi region Navratan Rathi as saying. “He may also felicitate BJP workers who had worked hard in the Lok Sabha polls. A public meeting at Rameshwaram, along with several foundation laying ceremonies, is also on the cards.”

In the Budget speech on Friday, Sitharaman said India would become a $3-trillion economy in the current financial year, and added that structural reforms were needed to achieve the target of becoming a $5-trillion economy by 2024.