In his address to the nation on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a special economic package for a “self-sufficient” India, claiming that along with all the past announcements made by the government in relations to Covid-19, the liquidity package announced by the RBI and today’s economic package, it will add up to a sum of Rs 20 lakh crore.
He also said that there will be a fourth phase of the lockdown, but with new rules.
“This will play an important role in the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’. All the past announcements made by the government in relation to Covid-19, decisions of RBI and today’s package totals to Rs 20 Lakh Crores. This is 10% of India’s GDP. This package — 20 lakhs in 2020 — will give a new momentum to self-sufficient India,” Modi said during his televised speech.
He however said that the details of the economic package will be announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the coming days.
“This package will empower land, labour, liquidity and law. This package is for the labourers and farmers of the country who work tirelessly for the country at all times,” Modi said and added, “The package is for the middle class who pays taxes and helps the country grow.”
He said that the package will include everything for everyone in India.
Speaking about the lockdown four, he said it will be completely different from the past lockdowns.
“Lockdown four will have new rules, we cannot let our lives be ruled by the coronavirus. All information on lockdown four will be given before May 18. We will fight coronavirus, but we will also go forward,” he said.
This was the prime minister’s fifth address to the nation during the coronavirus pandemic in India. The first phase of the lockdown was announced by Modi in a similar televised speech on March 24.
Modi’s speech came a day after he held a meeting with the chief ministers of different states on how to ease the lockdown and to plan an exit strategy.
The Indian Express had reported that several states like Punjab, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Telangana had favoured extending the lockdown.
Chief ministers had also told Modi that they would like to decide certain aspects of the lockdown on their own. Some states, according to The Indian Express, had also expressed their reservations on inter-state transport.
Meanwhile, PTI quoted Modi as saying during the meeting, “Now the world will be pre-Corona, post-Corona just like the case of the world wars. And this would entail significant changes in how we function...We must all plan for the new reality.”
Modi had also said the challenges were two-fold ― reduction of the transmission rate of the novel coronavirus and gradual increase in public activities while adhering to all guidelines.
The Centre and states will have to work towards achieving the twin objectives, he said.
In his March 19 address, the prime minister announced a “janta curfew” on March 22. On March 24, he announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown. On April 14, he extended the lockdown period till May 3. On April 3, in a video message, Modi asked the nation to light lamps for frontline corona warriors on April 5.
The lockdown was further extended till May 17 by the Home Ministry.
(With PTI inputs)