PM On How He Ended "Malai" Factor Associated With Infrastructure Projects

The Prime Minister, in a dig at the previous governments, spoke about the "'malai'" factor, which he said was earlier associated with all infrastructure projects

PM Modi highlighted his government's big focus on infrastructure. (Representational)

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi detailed his government's massive focus on the infrastructure sector and how their steps differ from previous regimes in an extensive interview to NDTV's Editor-in-Chief Sanjay Pugalia.

The Prime Minister, in a dig at the previous governments, spoke about the "'malai'" factor, which he said was earlier associated with all infrastructure projects: "Infrastructure was misused a lot in the past. Earlier it meant, the bigger the project, the more the 'malai' (cream - a metaphor for corruption). So, the 'malai' factor got stuck with the infrastructure and that destroyed the country."

"For years, I saw infrastructure either on paper or on the foundation stones. When I came, I started a regular programme, PRAGATI, and I started reviewing the projects," he added.

PRAGATI, an integrating and interactive platform, aims to monitor and review important projects of the government as well as projects flagged by state governments.

PM's 'Four-S Mantra'

PM Modi also outlined his 'four-S' mantra - scope, scale, speed and skill - the driving factors of infrastructure development: "The scope should be very big, it shouldn't be in parts, and the second thing is scale, which should also be large. The speed should be in sync with these two. So, scope, scale and speed, and then there should be skill. If we can get these four things together, I believe, we achieve a lot."

He clarified that by speed, he means the speed of decision-making and not the speed of construction. "And my effort has always been that there should be skill, scale, speed and we shouldn't let go of any scope. And by speed, I don't mean construction speed but the decision-making should be fast," he said.

Gati Shakti

The Prime Minister also spoke about the Gati Shakti scheme and how it is helping in infrastructure development. PM Gati Shakti incorporates infrastructure schemes of various Ministries and state governments to improve connectivity and make Indian businesses more competitive.

"The world talks about our digital infrastructure but not much is said about our Gati Shakti. Be it any infrastructure project in India, we need to reduce logistics spending and increase logistic support. Gati Shakti is one such platform. When I first launched it, the chief secretaries of the states were very happy. The data that is there in our Gati Shakti platform, there are 1,600 layers to them. It's a unique thing. It helps in infrastructure development. I feel we are progressing with speed," he said.

UPI, Railways, Electrification

The Prime Minister, listing the government's achievements in the sector, spoke about UPI (Unified Payments Interface that facilitates inter-bank peer-to-peer and person-to-merchant transactions), modernisation of railways and government's spending in the sector.

"Now UPI. This is a big thing in the fintech world... I think we are spending 10 or 12 lakh crore to stregthen the infrastructure sector. That's a big jump in spending from the earlier government's Rs 2 lakh crore spending," he said.

"We are working towards modernising the railways. Unmanned crossings have been reduced to almost zero. Look at the improvement in the cleanliness of the railway stations. Then, the use of railway tracks. Earlier, there were either goods or passenger trains. I have added yatri (tourism) trains to that. For example, the Ramayan sector trains, Dwadash jyotirlinga circuit trains, Buddha circuit trainsets," PM Modi added.

He also highlighted his government's focus on electrification: "We have achieved nearly 100 per cent electrification."

"You can't just builld infrastructure and leave it at that. We plan for its optimum utilisation simultaneously too," he pointed out.

Government's Infra Push

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set out a broad plan for the country to become a developed nation by 2047 when it will mark 100 years of freedom from British rule, and development in the infrastructure sector is key to that objective.

The ruling BJP's "Modi ki guarantee" manifesto, released days before the country went to polls, includes plans to strengthen infrastructure to attract investments and create jobs. As per the BJP, the manifesto "places the spotlight on turning India into a global manufacturing powerhouse. This vision aligns with the government's 'Make in India' initiative, seeking to attract foreign investment, boost domestic production, and enhance exports".

The government's interim Budget in February focussed on infrastructure and long-term reforms to drive growth as it increased the the capital expenditure outlay to 11.1 per cent to Rs 11.11 lakh crore.