With less than a year to go for the general election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday issued a “guarantee” that India would be among the top three economies of the world during the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s “third term”.
“In our first term, India was tenth in world economy rankings. In the second term, it is the fifth largest economy of the world. Based on this track record, I am saying that in our third term, it will be among the top three economies of the world. This is Modi’s guarantee,” the Prime Minister said, after inaugurating the complex that will be used to host the G-20 leaders’ summit in the capital in September.
New convention centre
The redeveloped India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) complex at Pragati Maidan has now been named Bharat Mandapam.
Mr. Modi said that the new venue showcased India’s new energy and willpower. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, when all work had stopped, our workers toiled day and night to complete this project,” he said. “I salute all workers from the core of my heart.” The Prime Minister had met the workers in the morning, after he conducted a special havan, or religious ritual, at the venue.
Mr. Modi said that a convention centre of such scale in Delhi was very important for India, as the earlier one constructed several decades ago could not match up to 21st century India. The new centre would be a medium to showcase India’s startups, the work of its filmmakers, and would also be a platform for its craftsmen, he said.
The Bharat Mandapam would promote conference tourism, he said, adding that the world would witness India’s rising stature when the newly-built venue hosted the G-20 summit
The inauguration was attended by Union Ministers, leading industrialists, chiefs of trade and commerce bodies, among others.
The Bharat Mandapam or the IECC (Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre) has been built as a modern complex as part of the Pragati Maidan redevelopment project. The proposal was first approved by the government in January 2017 at a total cost of ₹2,254 crore.
The campus has an area of about 123 acres. Among the salient features of the new complex are a convention centre with a seating capacity of 7,000, and a magnificent amphitheatre for performances, cultural shows, and entertainment events, which will have a seating capacity of 3,000.
PM slams ‘naysayers’
The PM asserted that the redevelopment should have been done many decades ago. “But I think many projects are to be done by me,” he remarked, tongue-in-cheek.
He said that there were many naysayers in the country, who had even tried to stop the construction work. These people had said the same thing when Kartavya Path was being made. “Just like privately accepting the grandeur of Kartavya Path, this toli (group) of negative thinkers will one day acknowledge Bharat Mandapam also,” he claimed.
Mr. Modi said that India was achieving things that were unimaginable earlier. “Think big, dream big, act big” was now the country’s motto, he said.
The PM noted that India would soon get the world’s largest museum, the new national museum to be named Yuge Yugeen Bharat, which will be shifted from its current location to the North Block as per the new Central Vista plan.
Listing his government’s infrastructure achievements, the PM said that the capacity of Delhi airport has increased from about 5 crore passengers in 2014 to 7.5 crore now; 40,000 km of rail lines have been electrified in the last nine years, compared to 20,000 km in the previous 70 years; and the number of airports have increased from 70 in 2014 to about 150 now. “About Rs 34 lakh crore spent on infrastructure development in last 9 years,” he said.