New Delhi: At a time when the coronavirus cases in the country have crossed 70,000-mark, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a consolidated economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore under ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ for the people to make them self-reliant in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - From March 19 to May 12, Here is How Long Each of PM Modi's Addresses to Nation on COVID-19 Lasted
In his speech, PM Modi pitched for promoting local businesses, as he said that the deadly virus may be part of life for a long time. His address to the nation comes at a time when the death toll due to coronavirus crossed 2,300. As per updates, nearly 24,000 people have recovered from the disease so far. Also Read - Is Modi's Rs 20 Lakh Crore Package Largest in Corona-Hit World? Second to US
While addressing the nation, PM Modi said that the fourth phase of the lockdown, beginning May 18, would be totally different with new rules and guidelines. He said this would be announced later after taking into account feedback from all chief ministers. Also Read - PM Modi’s COVID-19 Package Will Place India Back on Path of Economic Recovery, Says CII
He further added that the coronavirus cannot be allowed to dictate the people’s lives even as experts have warned it is going to be a part of our lives for a long time.
“India’s self-reliance will be based on five pillars — economy, which brings in quantum jump and not incremental changes, infrastructure, technology-driven system, vibrant demography and demand,” he said.
The Union Health Ministry said that nearly 7,000 new cases were detected in the last 24 hours and more than 100 people have lost their lives in this time period.
Saying that the details of the economic package would be announced by the Finance Ministry over the next few days, PM Modi said it would cover all sections of the society including corporates, cottage and small scale industries, MSMEs, labourers and the middle class.
He added that the economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore would include measures already announced by the government and the RBI so far to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. However, there was no clarity on from where these funds would come and what impact it might have on the fiscal health of the country.
PM Modi added that the special economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore is equivalent to almost 10 per cent of India’s GDP and it will provide a much-needed boost for making India self-reliant. The package will also focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws.
Reacting to his speech, leaders of the ruling party, BJP, pointed it was the biggest ever package announced by any country. On the other side, Congress called his speech ‘deeply disappointing’.
On March 24, PM Modi had first announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown during his first address to the nation on COVID-19. This was later extended till May 3 and then further till May 17 with some relaxations in the third phase.