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Indian PM unveils massive $266bn financial package in Covid war

NEW DELHI, May 12, 2020

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a special economic package worth Rs20 trillion ($266 billion) to help mitigate the damage caused by the novel coronavirus Covid-19 and the lockdown it has triggered, said media reports.
 
"The new package will give a new momentum to the development journey of the country in 2020 for making Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)," Modi said in his address to the nation today (May 12), his fifth, including a video message, following the outbreak of Covid-19. 
 
"This economic package is for that labourer of the country, for farmers, who are working day and night for the countrymen in every situation, every season. This is for the middle class of our country, which pays taxes honestly and contributes to the development of the country," he stated.
 
The PM said the package was also for the industries to help make India self reliant. It will give fillip to country's economy, he added. 
 
Today's address comes a day after his virtual interaction with the country's chief ministers on tackling the Covid-19 menace. He had last addressed the nation on April 14, reported PTI.
       
Giving a clarion call for Atmanirbhar Bharat, Modi said: "India’s self-reliance will be based on five pillars – economy, infrastructure, technology driven system, vibrant demography and demand."
 
He emphasised the need to promote local products and brands so that the nation builds a robust supply chain that stands the weather of global storms. 
 
The novel coronavirus has brought a new opportunity for India by helping it upgrade its existing health infrastructure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in the address.
 
When the crisis started then not even a single PPE kit was manufactured in India, only a few N95 masks were available. Today 2 Lakh PPE kits and 2 Lakh N95 masks are manufactured in India daily.
 
"Today when the entire world is in crisis, we will have to further firm our resolve," Modi said. 
 
Citing instances of India's effort towards polio eradication, International Solar Alliance and global convention on climate change- Modi highlighted India's role in global order. "India's response to the 'Kutch Earthquake' is a testimony to our collective mindset," he added.
 
He also hinted at big-ticket economic reforms in coming days, adding details of the economic package will be given by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman starting tomorrow (May 13).
 
The package will spur business, attract investment and strengthen our Make in India Mission, reiterated Modi. The package is equivalent to 10 per cent of India's GDP, he added.
 
Modi said the Covid-19 economic package, which combined the government's recent announcements on supporting key sectors as also measures rolled out by the Reserve Bank of India will focus on land, labour, law, liquidity. It is for all classes of society, for all Indians and industry, reported Economic Times.
 
Calling upon the countrymen to be ‘vocal about local’ – buy local products and advertise them too, Modi said: "Time has taught us that we must make 'local' the mantra of our lives. Global brands that are there today were once local too but when people there started supporting them they became global. That is why from today, every Indian must become vocal for our local."
 
In a world that is fighting life and death, India's medicines today bring a new hope. With these steps, when India is being praised everywhere in the world, every Indian feels proud,' remarked Modi.
 
"When India speaks of self-reliance, it does not advocate for a self-centered system. In India's self-reliance there is a concern for the whole world's happiness, cooperation and peace," he added.
 
Hinting that the 4th phase of Covid-19 lockdown will be completely new, PM Modi said: “Scientists say that Corona will be a part of our lives for a very long time. But we can’t let our lives remain confined around Corona. We will wear masks and maintain social distancing but we will not let it affect us. So lockdown 4 will be in a new form with new rules.”
 
Modi further said that based on the suggestions by states, information related to the fourth lockdown will be announced before May 18.



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