Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the nation for the fifth time during the lockdown, today announced an economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore — including the worth of the package the Reserve Bank had announced recently. The prime minister said, “This package is about 10% of India’s GDP. This will give a new impetus to the country’s development journey in 2020.”
“To prove the resolve of an atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India),” Prime Minister Modi observed that the package will “focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws.”
“It will cater to various sections including cottage industry, MSMEs, labourers, middle class, industries, among others,” the prime minister said.
Arguably conscious of the allegation that his government has so far hardly reformed the systems, he said the first pillar of a self-reliant India would be the economy where he would bring in “quantum changes” rather than incremental ones.
Modi informed that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman would provide the details of the contours of the package tomorrow and in the coming few days.
Prime Minister Modi said, “The country has seen the endurance of our poor brothers and sisters. They have suffered a lot during this time. Who would not have felt their absence? Keeping this in mind, an economic package will be announced for every section.”
PM Modi defines ‘atmanirbhar Bharat’
So that the message is not taken for a swadeshi movement, the prime minister clarified that the definition of self-reliance had undergone a change in the globalised world. When the country talks about self-reliance, it is different from being self-centred, he said.
“India’s culture speaks of that self-reliance, the soul of which is vasudhaiva kutumbakam (the world is one family),” Modi said.
At the same time, perhaps nudging the countrymen to shun products made in China, the prime minister stressed consumers to buy locally made products as much as possible.
“Friends, he said, “we have been constantly hearing from the last century that the 21st century belongs to India. As the COVID crisis unfolds, we are watching the conditions it has created in the world.”
Prime Minister Modi said, “Today India is producing 2 lakh PPE and 2 lakh N95 masks every day. India has turned a disaster into an opportunity.” He contrasted this with the scenario where India did not produce even one PPE kit while N95 production was negligible when COVID had first struck the world.
“This vision of India, the prime minister said, “is going to prove effective.”
Prime Minister Modi said, “Today we have the resources; we have the best talent in the world, we will make the best product. Will make the supply chain more modern. We will definitely do this.”
“Progress in India is part of, and also contributes to, progress in the whole world,” he said. He noted that the world believed that India had a lot to “contribute to the development of the entire humanity”.
There would be five pillars of Indian self-reliance, Prime Minister Modi said, naming them as
Modi had begun with a sombre note
Prime Minister Modi had said in the beginning of his speech at 8 PM, “The world has now spent more than four months coping with the coronavirus infection. During this time, more than 42 lakh people from all affected countries have been infected. More than a quarter of a million people have died tragically. In India too, people have lost their loved ones.”
“Friends,” the prime minister had said, “a virus has destroyed the world. The whole world is engaged in a battle to save lives. We had not seen or heard of such a crisis. Certainly, all this is unthinkable for mankind. This crisis is unprecedented, but it is not acceptable that human beings get tired, lost, broken or shattered.”
“Staying cautious, following all the rules, now we have to save ourselves but also move forward. Today, when the world is in a crisis, we have to make our determination stronger; our resolve will be greater than this crisis,” Modi said.
“I have seen the days of the Kutch earthquake. Everything was destroyed as if Kutch had fallen asleep, covering itself with a shroud of death. Nobody could have imagined that the condition could improve, but Kutch stood up. If we are determined, no goal is difficult. This is to make India self-reliant. India’s power of resolution is such that India can become self-reliant,” Prime Minister Modi said.
The prime minister had said, “Friends, all experts say that coronavirus will remain a part of our life for a long time, but we will be around to fight it. We cannot let it win; we will have to move forward. We will put on masks, follow the other rules like social distancing by two yards with the next person.”
“The rules will change for the fourth phase of the lockdown,” Modi said, adding that he was intently heeding suggestions from the states in this regard. “Information related to Lockdown 4.0 will be given before 18 May. I am confident that we will fight Corona by following all the rules and will also move forward. You must take care of your family and close ones,” the prime minister said.
Prime Minister’s fourth special address to the nation followed his meeting with chief ministers a day earlier through video conferencing.
Prime Minister Modi had first addressed the nation on 18 March and appealed to the people to observe a ‘Janata curfew’ from 9 AM to 9 PM on 22 March.
The Prime Minister then announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown on 24 March to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Then on 14 April, he extended the lockdown for another 19 days until 3 May.
Penultimately, the government had announced a further extension of the lockdown for two more weeks till 17 May.
Sources in the government said that the prime minister had chosen to address the nation five days before the current lockdown was about to end so that the central and state authorities could prepare to work in accordance with the new rules in the post-17 May period.