Rajat Sharma

Modi’s historic Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package will certainly build a new self-reliant India

akb2301In his address to the nation on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a massive Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package, equivalent to 10 per cent of GDP, to kickstart the economy which had come to a standstill during the 50-day lockdown.

Giving a call for building a “self-reliant India” (Atmnirbhar Bharat), Modi promised a new set of reforms focused on land, labour, liquidity and legal frameworks that, he said, would power Indian economy to new heights.

Modi said, these reforms will include supply chain reforms for agriculture, rational tax system, simple and clear laws, capable human resources and a strong financial system. The package has been designed to help cottage industries, micro, small and medium enterprises, workers, middle class and industry as a whole, he added.

The Centre had announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore stimulus package on March 26 when the lockdown was enforced and the RBI had also launched schemes to help borrowers and boost liquidity, besides cutting interest rates.

Lockdown 4.0, Modi said, will be completely different and will have new rules. Modi’s dream of a self-reliant India will certainly come true if we continue to have trust in ourselves, and have trust in our Prime Minister’s leadership. All of us have the strength, the opportunities are there, and the world needs India to shore up the global economy.

Presently, the world, as a whole, is unhappy with China and it views its government with suspicion. More than 200 US companies want to move out of China. Italian and Israeli companies also want to leave China.

If India provides good environment and support, protect them from ‘tax terrorism’, open up labour reforms, these multinational companies will surely come and set up plants in India. They will have ample raw material, cheap manpower and available land, provided red tapism ends in our bureaucracy, labour laws are changed and top quality infrastructure is made available.

Modi has the knack of turning a crisis into opporunity and I surely believe he will achieve his objective. Modi will surely protect foreign companies from red tapism and put a single clearance window system in place.

Normally big foreign investors will never say this, but the harsh ground reality is that there have been instances in the past, when cases lingered on in our courts, the entire law was changed, and big infrastructure and investments made by foreign companies went waste.

When licences are abruptly cancelled, contracts are changed, companies lose trust in the government. Modi wants to rebuild that trust. Trust can be rebuilt not only by the government but also by Indian companies too.

Let me put it frankly. If we want to do business with the world, we will have to change our mindsets about making a quick buck and compromise with quality.

Quality has been the hallmark of the world’s most renowned brands and the products that they offer are reliable. When they deal with Indian businessmen, they expect similar reciprocal trust. We in India can do this. It is part of our age-old tradition, our ‘sanskriti’.

Since childhood we have heard that business always runs on the basis of trust. We will have to bring back that trust so that the world can say that when Indian businessmen give a promise, they live by it and there will be no bungling. This level of trust has risen in recent years and I am confident that this will play a big role in bringing the world’s investors to Indian shores.

We will have to improve our infrastructure, communications, airports, railway stations, roads, and shipping to attract foreign companies, so that they can come here and contribute towards building a self-reliant India.

I am fully confident that once the wheels of Indian economy begin to move with the stimulus package announced by Modi, it will trigger reverse migration of those lakhs of workers who were forced to leave cities to return to their native places.

After 50 days of nationwide lockdown, the wheels of economy must now move. Service and manufacturing sectors must resume work and the demand and supply lines will have to be reworked. The threat from Coronavirus is not yet over and all of us will have to continue to follow social distancing norms.

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