Paradip (Odisha), February 7
Sharply criticising project delays of the past that lead to huge cost overruns, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said a new work culture of conceiving and completing projects before time is needed to boost economic growth.
Rejecting opposition Congress' charge that projects he has been inaugurating in recent months were all started during their time, he said as Prime Minister he would have been happy if the projects were completed 15 years back and led to creation of jobs.
Dedicating to the nation Indian Oil Corporation’s Rs 34,555-crore refinery here, Modi said the government is targeting reduction in oil import dependence by 10 per cent by 2022 by creating policy environment that supports raising domestic output as well as by mixing bio-fuels like ethanol in auto fuels.
“It is very natural that I am happy to inaugurate projects. But as Prime Minister of a country, I don't feel happy at all. I would have been happy if these works would have been completed 15 years back, when lakhs of people here would have got jobs," he said.
He added that projects in the country face obstructions in the form of court proceedings, tender process and sometimes agitations, making them very costly.
"For the development of the country, we all — citizens, bureaucracy, industry and policy makers, have to give birth to such a culture where projects start on time, progress within the scheduled time, and finish within the pre-decided time so that country gets the benefit, the benefit comes before scheduled time," he said.
The government, he added, was "trying to bring in this change so that there is no serious loss to the exchequer because of delay."
Initiatives have to be futuristic and completed before the designated time period.
"Delays shouldn't occur," he said, adding that in the past, ideas originated 50 years back, would take 10 years to put them on paper and conceived, a similar number of years to lay foundation stone and many more years before it is completed.
Modi said the Paradip refinery, whose foundation stone was laid by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2000, will create lakhs of jobs as it will manufacture raw material for several industries, including plastics.
The government is promoting skill development, providing finances to youth under the MUDRA scheme and giving incentives under 'Start Up India, Stand Up India' initiative.
"We do not want youths to become job seekers. We want youths to become job creators," he said, adding that under the MUDRA scheme, Rs 1 lakh crore has been given so far.
Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Ltd (MUDRA) is a new institution set up by the government to provide funding to the non-corporate, non-farm sector income generating activities of micro and small enterprises whose credit needs are below Rs 10 lakh.
With the country dependent on imports to meet 79 per cent of its oil needs, Modi said oil imports have to be reduced.
"When in 2022 we celebrate 75 years of Indian independence, import of oil should be reduced by 10 per cent," he said, adding the Petroleum Ministry and oil companies will take this challenge to make India self sufficient in energy.
India spent $112.7 billion on import of 189.4 million tons of crude oil in 2014-15 fiscal year.
Modi said most of India's oil import comes from the Gulf countries. The aim is that oil that comes from 'khari' (Gulf countries) should be added to oil from 'jhadi' (bio-fuel).
"Khari ka tel aur jhadi ka tel milana hai (We have to mix oil from Gulf with oil from shrubs)," he said.
While ethanol produced from sugarcane can be mixed with petrol, non-edible oil from Jatropha curcas can be added to diesel. These will not only cut oil imports but also protect environment, he said.
After meeting requirement of sugar sector, surplus cane can be used to produce ethanol, he said.
Also, to make India self-sufficient in energy, solar energy is being promoted.
Modi said Paradip refinery will change the fortune of Odisha as it will create lakhs of jobs.
The unit will manufacture 78 crore kg of LPG, 500 crore litres of petrol, 660 crore litre of diesel, 250 crore litre of kerosene and ATF, 27 lakh quintal of sulphur and 120 lakh qunital of petroleum coke.
"You can imagine how much these products will give momentum to economic development," he said.
LPG from the refinery will replace firewood in rural households. One hour of cooking on firewood subject rural women to smoke equivalent to 400 cigarettes, he said. "We are trying that the poor get LPG gas cylinders to give them freedom from smoke," he said.
As many as 11 lakh new LPG connections have been provided in Odisha in last one year as compared to 26 lakh connections in previous 60 years, he said.
Also, fertilizer plants in the region are being revived to produce urea for farmers, he said.
Paradip refinery, he said, has added to the 'Make-in-India' glory as IOC's indigenously developed INDMAX has maximised LPG yield to 44 per cent, the highest in the world.
"LPG production is going to increase. Economy will get a boost at low cost," he said. — PTI