In his address to the nation on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 20 lakh crore economic package, which is the equivalent of almost 10% of the country's GDP, for a “self-reliant” India in order to fight the economic crisis that has arisen due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting nationwide lockdown.
PM Modi, in his TV address, also said that the fourth phase of the lockdown imposed in a bid to contain the spread of the novel virus will be guided by a set of new rules while the focus will continue to remain on combating the infection along with moving ahead with national goals.
Starting Wednesday, details of the 20 lakh crore economic package will be given over the next few days by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-reliant India Mission), the prime minister said will cover “land, labour, liquidity, and laws”, industry and businesses of all sizes, and farmers, entrepreneurs, and the middle class.
In his address, he repeatedly stressed the importance of self-reliance and said: “When India speaks of self-reliance, it does not advocate a self-centred system. In India’s self-reliance there is a concern for the whole world’s happiness, cooperation and peace,” Modi said, adding that local suppliers have met India’s demands in this hour of need, and now “Indians have to be ‘vocal about local’ and buy products from them”.
The total amount also includes the previously announced 1.7 lack crore-- a cash transfer and food package aimed at the most vulnerable.
Modi said that the pandemic, along with destruction, has also provided an opportunity to strengthen India’s resolve and not waver from its goals. “We are standing at a crucial juncture. This crisis has a message for us. It has provided us with an opportunity... we have to protect ourselves and move ahead as well."