Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the prime minister’s vision for the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, which roughly translates to “Self-reliant India scheme” was to include everyone. “This shall not be just a financial package, but a reform stimulus, a mindset overhaul, and a thrust in governance,” she tweeted hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Sitharaman will address the media at 4 pm on Wednesday. She is likely to give details of the economic stimulus package.
Sitharaman added that the scheme does not imply isolationism or becoming exclusionist. “We’ll build capacities, skill people and compete globally acquiring strengths,” she added. “We’ll build the local. After all, every global brand began with their local strength.”
The finance minister said India’s economy has acquired strength in recent years and it can engage confidently with the world now. “We aim at overall transformation and not incremental changes,” she added. “We shall convert the pandemic challenge into an opportunity. Aatmanirbhar Bharat will integrate not isolate.”
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Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders said that the country’s current leadership had changed the global perception about India. Home Minister Amit Shah, in a series of tweets, claimed that the nation’s fight against the coronavirus under the leadership of Modi has given a new direction to the world.
“New India has not only stood against the crisis, but also extended support to the whole world,” the home minister tweeted. “This has changed the world’s perception about India. The Modi government has taken every decision for the welfare of the country and its people. The Rs 20-lakh crore package has been announced in favour of farmers, middle class and the traders.”
In his address to the nation on Tuesday evening, Modi had said that this package will make India self-sufficient. “The package worth Rs 20 lakh crore is 10% of India’s GDP [Gross Domestic Product],” Modi had said. 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.
The prime minister said India’s self-reliance will be based on five pillars – economy, infrastructure, technology driven system, vibrant demography and demand. Making India self-reliant is the only way to make sure that the 21st century belongs to India, he asserted.
In March, Sitharaman had announced a stimulus package worth Rs 1.70 lakh crore for the poor and vulnerable sections of the society. It came after Modi announced the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of Covid-19 infection. But many had criticised the package as inadequate.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the relief package will create opportunities for the country and draw a roadmap for a self-reliant India. “Consumption of local products will make India self-reliant and this is how New India will emerge.” Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla also termed the relief package as unprecedented.