With two days to go for phase II of general elections, the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, 81-year-old LK Advani, rolled out a grand $500 billion (Rs 25,147 billion) agenda for developing infrastructure.
On Tuesday, Advani released his party's vision document on augmentation of infrastructure - the third after one on development of Information Technology and another on bringing back black money stashed away in Swiss banks. Interestingly, the vision for infrastructure is closely linked with its agenda for the black money in tax havens. BJP wants to bring back the black money and utilise it for infrastructure development. The BJP also wants to dip into the foreign exchange reserves of $247.3 billion (Rs 12,450 billion) to support the ambitious plan.
"Our country deserves world-class infrastructure, both physical and social, which is commensurate in quality and quantity with our goal of making the 21st Century, India's century," Advani told a press conference in Bangalore.
One of the salient features of BJP's vision for infrastructure development, spread over next five years, is the commitment to adopt 100 projects of national importance from different sectors and ensure their "time-bound implementation." The sectors include water (river-linking, construction of new check dams or ponds in each of the 600,000 villages of India and rain water harvesting in urban pockets); power (affordable electricity 24x7 to every home with additional generation of 120,000 MW power); world-class highways linking every Indian city and motorable roads to every village; urban mass transit systems (metro rail) in the country's 25 largest cities and modernisation of 100 important railway stations; creation of 1.2 crore IT-enabled jobs in rural areas by enhancing broadband Internet connectivity to every village, and recast and expand the footprint of Jawaharlal Nehru National Renewal Mission. In addition, it envisages a high-power agency to monitor and accelerate implementation of the 100 projects.