May 15, 2020

PM Narendra Modi ji’s message of #AatmaNirbharBharat is about working and engaging with the world from a position of strength. ₹20 lakh crore package rests on the principle of a self-reliant India.

Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said the ₹20-lakh-crore stimulus package rests on the principle of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) but emphasised that this didn’t mean the country was going to be inward looking.

he package will help restore economic activity, bring growth back on track and ensure stability in financial and business circles besides protecting livelihoods, Goyal said Thursday at a webinar orgnanised by Bennett University, part of The Times of India Group that publishes ET. Goyal is also railway minister.

‘Need to Boost Infra Across Sectors’
While the safety and good health of our citizens is a primary concern, the economic wellbeing of the nation is also the focus of policy making, the minister said, warning that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will last for a while. “We are far away from a cure. But our confidence, resilience, our ability to carve out a future for our people is not lost,” Goyal said in his keynote address at the ebinar organised by the management school of the university on the theme Covid-19: Jaan bhi, Jahaan bhi.

While the economic package provides a balanced approach to resolving the impact of the pandemic, it offers a clear vision of the future and what India should be.

“Clearly, we have to ensure a very well-organised, but sustainable economic revival. We have to strengthen the infrastructure across sectors, particularly health but also education,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had unveiled the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan on Tuesday, when he announced an economic revival package covering almost all stakeholders that was worth Rs 20 lakh crore, or 10% of GDP.

Goyal dismissed concerns that this meant a protectionist turn.

“It’s about working and engaging with the world from a position of strength. It’s about your own selfconfidence that you are not dependent or at least not overly dependent on the rest of the world,” he said. “It’s about confidence of the nation that you can produce quality products, that you can produce in a cost-competitive manner, that you can compete with anybody in the world, that you can compete with even given some of disadvantages that we face.”

He cited the instance of supplies needed to fight Covid-19.

The minister made a case for India moving to fill the gaps in global supply chains and meet the needs of the world where the country has competitive and comparative advantages. “Identify the products… identify specific areas where the country can excel,” he said.

India will become the factory of the world in personal protective equipment (PPE) and masks and also take a lead in making sanitisers. India had supplied paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine to over 120 countries, with 40 of them being given the medicines free.

“India did not take a view that we shall keep all of it for our own use,” he said, adding exports had been restricted to ensure that enough of the drugs would be available across the world, particularly less developed countries.

Goyal said the country has gone through the coronavirus crisis without a single person starving. “That’s not just the effort of the central government or the state governments. It is the effort of 130 crore Indians,” he said.

Despite risks, the minister said the railways has continued to ferry food grains, fertilisers, fruit, milk, vegetables and coal to keep power plants running. He said everyone was working collectively to make India future ready, to strengthen processes, make systems better and boost infrastructure not only in health but across sectors.


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