Unfazed by the Opposition’s attack over demonetisation and GST, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday vowed to continue the process of taking “important decisions” regarding reforms, as he as he launched several infrastructure projects in poll-bound Gujarat.
Modi reached out to traders, assuring them that their past records will not be checked by the Income Tax department if they join the formal economy by getting themselves registered under the new tax regime. “After all reforms and hard decisions, the economy of the country is on track and is going in the right direction,” Modi, said on the day-long visit to Gujarat.
Apparently answering critics in the Opposition and Yashwant Sinha of the BJP, he said, “Many economists have agreed unanimously that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.”
“If we have a look at the figures which have come recently, the production of coal, electricity, natural gas and other items has increased tremendously. Foreign investors are making record investments in the country. The foreign exchange reserves of the country have reached 40,000 crore dollars from 30,000 crore dollars,” Modi said.
Modi also inaugurated a Rs 650 crore roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro) ferry service on Sunday that reduces travel time by six hours between Saurashtra and South Gujarat.
He said the ferry in the Gulf of Khambhat of the Arabian Sea would reduce the travel time between Bhavnagar district in western Gujarat’s Saurashtra and Dahej in Bharuch district in south Gujarat from seven hours to just one hour, cutting the distance between two places to 31 km from 360 km. “It is a landmark project not only for India but also for the entire South-East Asia. It is a dream come true for the people of Gujarat.”
The dream of 6.5 crore Gujaratis has come true as the ferry service would lead to social and economic development in the region and bring thousands of new job opportunities, he said. “Imagine how much time and petrol this ferry service will save,” he said, adding the facility would not be restricted to just one route.
“We are planning to link other places,” he said, noting that plans were afoot to expand the service to Hazira and the union territory Daman and Diu at a later stage and various places in Saurashtra. The prime minister added that the Ro-Ro ferry was like “amrit” — the drink of immortality — bestowed upon to the people Gujarat as a blessing from Hindu god of oceans Varuna.
Addressing a gathering in Bhavnagar after the inauguration, Modi blasted the Congress saying the previous Congress-led government in the Centre had stalled all development projects in Gujarat by creating procedural hurdles in the name of the environment.