Considering the detrimental effect of the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to the lockdown for over 8 weeks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced a special economic package of Rs. 20 lakh crores. He stressed on the importance of being self-reliant as a road map for successful economic development. He said that after carefully formulating economic support to all sections of the society, it will focus on not just a single industry or business but covers MSMEs, cottage industries and all local businesses.
Announcing the relief package under ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, he stressed that it will not only strengthen the Indian supply chain globally but will ensure that land, labor, law and liquidity will boost all economic sections of the businesses and industries including agriculture.
The mega economic package is being seen as a big boost to the businesses and industries that have suffered a setback due to the lockdown imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been many projections about India’s economic growth that it might just be 2% in the current financial year. The PM’s economic package has been unveiled based on similar economic boost given by other countries like Japan and USA. The relief package is built on five pillars – demography, system, economy, demand, and infrastructure.
PM Narendra Modi said that the pandemic has taught the country that being self-reliant is the only way forward. He said being vocal about local products will help businesses flourish again and facilitate the economy. He was confident that 21st century belonged to India as with new energy and determination, the nation will move forward. The relief package is about 10% of the Indian GDP and the details were outlined by the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman. Covering all aspects of the Indian economy, not just the large industries, PSUs but Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and agriculture sector were given equal impetus by the allocation of funds. When most countries are dependent on imports, this relief package is all about facilitating the Indian economy and local manufacturing and production.
He quoted the making of PPEs and N95 masks as an example. Though these items were being imported earlier, with the advent of the demand during pandemic, the local production of these items has created a new industrial need. Now, 2 lakh units are being manufactured every day locally. About the pandemic, the PM Narendra Modi was of the view that India needs to learn to live with it while the lockdown bought some time for the government to strengthen the healthcare system.
During the first lockdown, the MSMEs has got impetus from the government to reduce dependence on imports and stress on Make in India. The MSMEs had sought regulations to streamline the prices on various products manufactured by different industries with tax holidays and discounts. They suggested that post- COVID 19, government identifies industries that are heavily dependent on Chinese imports and encourage Make in India for those products.