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New Delhi, May 12, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced a special economic package worth Rs 20 lakh crore -- including the measures unveiled by the Government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in recent weeks -- to help the country tide over the economic crisis wrought by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and move towards self-reliance.
In a televised address to the nation -- his fourth since the COVID-19 crisis began, Modi, who gave a clarion call for an "Atmanirbhar Bharat" (Self-Reliant) India, said that the details of the contours of the package would be provided by the Finance Minister in the coming few days, beginnning tomrorow.
On the lockdown, initially imposed on March 25 for 21 days, then extended for 19 days from April 15 and again by two weeks from March 4, he said the contours of the fourth stage, slated to begin on May 18, would be completely different from the first three first phases seen so far.
"On the basis of recommendations received from states, new rules will be framed, and information about the same will be conveyed before 18th May," he said.
Modi began by recalling those who had died battling the pandemic and said the crisis that had emerged due to COVID-19 was unprecedented. "But in this battle, we not only need to protect ourselves but also have to keep moving forward," he said.
Talking about the pre- and post-COVID worlds, he observed that in order to fulfill the dream of making the 21st century India’s, the way forward is through ensuring that the country becomes self-reliant. Talking about turning a crisis into an opportunity, he gave the example of PPE kits N-95 masks, whose production in India has gone up from almost being negligible to 2 lakh each, on a daily basis.
Prime Minister remarked that the definition of self-reliance has undergone a change in the globalized world and clarified that when the country talks about self-reliance, it is different from being self-centered.
He said that India’s culture considers the world as one family, and progress in India is part of, and also contributes to, progress in the whole world. He noted that the world trusts that India has a lot to contribute towards the development of the entire humanity.
Recalling the devastation in Kutch in Gujarat after the 2001 earthquake, the Prime Minister said that through determination and resolve, the area was back on its feet. A similar determination is needed to make the country self-reliant.
He said that a self-reliant India will stand on five pillars: Economy, which brings in a quantum jump and not incremental change; Infrastructure, which should become the identity of India; System, based on 21st century technology driven arrangements; Vibrant Demography, which is the source of energy for a self-reliant India; and Demand, whereby the strength of the country's demand and supply chain should be utilized to full capacity.
He underlined the importance of strengthening all stakeholders in the supply chain to increase, as well as fulfill, the demand.
Modi said that the special economic package announced by him, taken together with earlier announcements by the government during the COVID crisis and decisions taken by the RBI, is to the tune of Rs 20 lakh crore, which is equivalent to almost 10% of India’s GDP.
He said that the package will provide a much-needed boost towards achieving "Atmanirbhar Bharat".
The Prime Minister said the package would also focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws. It will cater to various sections including cottage industry, MSMEs, labourers, middle class, industries, among others, he said.
Talking about the positive impact of reforms like JAM trinity and others, brought about in the last six years, he said that several bold reforms are needed to make the country self-reliant, so that the impact of crises such as COVID, can be negated in the future. These reforms include supply chain reforms for agriculture, rational tax system, simple and clear laws, capable human resource and a strong financial system. These reforms will promote business, attract investment, and further strengthen Make in India, he said.
Modi said self-reliance would prepare the country for tough competition in the global supply chain, and it is important that the country wins this competition. The same has been kept in mind while preparing the package. It will not only increase efficiency in various sectors but also ensure quality, he said.
Highlighting their contribution to the country, he said that the package would also focus on empowering the poor, labourers, migrants, and so on, both from the organized and the unorganized sectors.
He observed that the crisis had highlighted the importance of local manufacturing, local market and local supply chains.
"All our demands during the crisis were met ‘locally’. Now, it's time to be vocal about the local products and help these local products become global," he said.
The Prime Minister said several experts and scientists had said that the virus is going to be part of people's lives for a long time.
"But, it is also important to ensure that our life does not revolve only around it," he said, exhorting people to work towards their targets while taking precautions like wearing masks and maintaining "do gaz doori" (two metres of distance from others).