The prime minister also unveiled a plan for energy self-reliance. Image Credit: PTI

New Delhi: India will soon launch a $1.35 trillion national infrastructure plan that will boost the country’s economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Sunday as part of 75th Independence Day celebrations.

"It will help local manufacturers turn globally competitive and also develop possibilities of new future economic zones in the country,’’ he said.

India’s economy, pummeled by the coronavirus pandemic, contracted 7.3 per cent in the fiscal year that ended in March. Economists fear there will be no rebound similar to the ones seen in the US and other major economies. In his 90-minute speech, Modi also listed his government’s achievements since 2014 and hailed India’s coronavirus vaccination campaign.

We are proud that we didn’t have to depend on any other country for COVID-19 vaccines. Imagine what would have happened if India didn’t have its own vaccine

- Prime Minister Narendra Modi

India has given more than 500 million doses of vaccines but its vaccination drive has been marred by its slow pace. About 11 per cent of eligible adult Indians have been fully vaccinated so far.

Energy self-reliance

The prime minister also unveiled a plan for energy self-reliance. The road map to energy self-reliance includes making India a global hub for green hydrogen and aiming for its railways to be a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030, Modi said.

India, the world’s third-largest energy consumer and oil importer, buys 85 per cent of its oil needs and pays Rs12 trillion a year toward energy imports, Modi said, adding that the government is focusing on expanding gas-based fuel and electricity-driven mobility.

Shift towards renewable energy

With global investors increasingly restricting support to companies contributing to carbon footprints, government is incentivizing Indian businesses to completely shift to renewable energy from a fossil-fuel dominated operation. The country plans to expand its renewable-power capacity almost five-fold by 2030 to meet its de-carbonization targets.

Modi last week called for a target of $400 billion in exports this financial year after last year’s numbers fell 7.2 per cent to $290.6 billion. The economy has also pushed for rationalization of labor laws, sought to reform agriculture and to amend tax laws in a bid to grow as it sees increasing risks to growth including inflation.