Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a special economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore in view of the nationwide lockdown imposed since March 25 to combat the coronavirus outbreak. He said this package, advanced for the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, or self-reliant India scheme, will make India self-sufficient.
“The package worth Rs 20 lakh crore is 10% of India’s GDP [Gross Domestic Product],” Modi said in an address to the country. This package also includes the government’s recent announcements to support some key sectors as well as recent measures rolled out by the Reserve Bank of India. “In this package, land, labour, liquidity and law have been emphasised.” He said the package is meant for micro, small and medium enterprises, for farmers, labourers and businesses.
Modi said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will announce details of the special economic package from Wednesday. The government had in March announced a relief package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore for the poor, but this was criticised as inadequate.
“When India speaks of self-reliance, it does not advocate for a self-centered system,” the prime minister said. “In India’s self-reliance, there is a concern for the whole world’s happiness, cooperation and peace.”
The prime minister said India’s self-reliance will be based on five pillars – economy, infrastructure, technology driven system, vibrant demography and demand, PTI reported. Making India self-reliant is the only way to make sure that the 21st century belongs to India, he asserted.
Modi added that when the coronavirus crisis began in India, not a single personal protection equipment kit had been manufactured, and only a few N95 masks were available, ANI reported. He asserted that today, two lakh kits and an equal number of N95 masks were being produced in India daily.
“Medicines supplied by India have infused new hopes in the world which is fighting battle of life and death,” Modi said. He also urged people to buy local products at this time. “Every Indian must be vocal for local,” he asserted.
The prime minister said India’s actions have impacted the world before, such as when the country became open defecation free. “Getting exhausted or accepting defeat is not an option,” Modi said. “We need to save lives and move forward at the same time. We have to remain careful and follow rules to live and move ahead. Now that the world is in a crisis, we have to be more resolute. Our resolve will be greater than the crisis.”
Modi asked citizens to take care of their health and that of the ones around them. “We can make India self-reliant and we will,” he asserted.
The prime minister also announced that the country would enter the fourth phase of lockdown from May 18. However, he said, this phase will be very different from the first three, the details of which will be shared with the public before May 18.
Modi said people cannot let coronavirus control their lives. “Corona will be with us for a long time but our lives cannot revolve around corona,” Modi said. “We will wear masks, we will follow six feet distance, but we won’t let our focus stray.”
India has so far reported 70,756 coronavirus cases and 2,293 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. A total of 22,455 patients have recovered from the virus.