COVID-19: Self-reliant India is the only way forward

Narendra Modi's Rs. 20 lakh crore announcement for 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' needs to be quickly followed with announcement of supply chain reforms, rational tax system, transparent laws, zero corruption regime and strong financial and technology backing for building the manufacturing and services ecosystem

In COVID-19 times, things are moving at a fast pace in India as we are looking at this pandemic not as an obstacle but as a challenge to take quantum jumps in times to come. And the faster, we take quantum jumps, the better it is for us and also for the economy.

On March 26, 2020, the Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Niramla Sitharaman announced Rs. 1.70 lakh crore relief package under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) for the poor to help them fight the battle against Coronavirus. The package was focused on the lower strata of society i.e. the poorest of the poor so that they do not have problems in meeting their essential requirements.

On May 12, 2020, addressing the nation, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a special economic package and gave a clarion call for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and announced economic package taken together with earlier announcements by the government during COVID-19 crisis and decisions taken by the RBI to the tune of Rs. 20 lakh crore, which is equivalent to almost 10% of India’s GDP.

This package will provide a much needed boost towards achieving ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and focuses on cottage industry, MSMEs and industries which in turn will benefit labourers, middle class and others who are involved in this ecosystem.

These reforms should be quickly followed with supply chain reforms, rational tax system, transparent laws, zero corruption regime and a strong financial and technology backing to create manufacturing and services ecosystem for consumer products in India to start with and then follow it up with business products as we move forward. Not only this, the participation of the state government wholeheartedly will help us take that quantum jump faster and also in a converged way so that there is no duplication of resources.

The biggest beneficiary of this package will be the MSME sector which gives employment to over 11 crore people and contributes nearly 29 percent of GDP and this is bound to increase if the package is judiciously utilised.

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s package, Union Minister for MSMEs and Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari said, “Through this historical package, the Prime Minister has fulfilled the expectations and aspirations of the MSME, village and cottage industry sector.”

“With abundant resources, superior technology and raw materials, India can soon become self-reliant in all sectors,” added Gadkari.

He expressed confidence that the MSME, village and cottage industry sector will grow to new heights with the support of this package.

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