New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday announced a Rs 20 trillion package to tide over the coronavirus crisis and its fallout on the economy. India would not be controlled by the virus, he said, also announcing "lockdown 4" after May 17 in a "completely different form", with new rules.
The special economic package, equivalent to around 10 percent of India's GDP, would be the main component of "Aatma Nirbhar Bharat" or self-reliant India, the Prime Minister said, addressing the nation for the third time since he announced a total lockdown in late March.
"Details of lockdown 4 will be shared after suggestion from states, before May 18," said the PM.
"Corona will be with us for a long time but our lives cannot revolve around it. We will wear masks, we will follow doh gaj doori (six-foot distance), but we won't let it derail our targets," he stressed, indicating major easing of restrictions after May 17.
Recent decisions by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), combined with today's financial package, would take to figure to about Rs 20 lakh crore, he said, nearly 10 per cent of India's GDP.
"The package will focus on land, labour, liquidity and law; it will help small business, labourers and farmers. It will focus on the well-being of migrant workers too," said the PM.
The package would cater to various sections including the cottage industry, MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises), the middle class and industries among others.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will address a series of press conferences from tomorrow, sources say, to give details of the package for various sectors.
Top sources say the package may include the wage bill of companies as an incentive to retain their employees. There may also be provisions for migrant labourers and the self-employed.
The coronavirus pandemic, PM Modi said, had ravaged the world. "We have never seen or heard of a crisis like this."
The only way for India to triumph over the crisis was to "strengthen our resolve so that our resolve is even greater than this crisis." India, he said, must realize its potential as the lead player in the 21st century by focusing on its self-reliance.
He listed what he called five pillars for self-reliance: "Economy with potential for quantum jump, infrastructure, technology-driven system, demography and an intelligence-driven supply system where the strength of our demand and supply chain should be utilized to full capacity."
The PM had yesterday held a six-hour meeting with Chief Ministers on the road ahead after May 17, when the third phase of the nationwide coronavirus lockdown is due to end.
PM Modi had hinted in the meeting that the lockdown - extended twice - would continue, but with far less restrictions.
Coronavirus cases in India crossed 70,000 today.
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