Coronavirus turning point for self-reliant India, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
India faces "unforeseen challenges" but is determined to convert them into an opportunity, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday as government data out May 31 showed India's economy had in 2019-2020 grown at the slowest pace in 11 years.

"The coronavirus crisis has given us a pressing reason to turn the corners and become self-reliant. Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission is the reflection of that reason,” said Modi, referring to his government's plan to make self-reliant in manufacturing.

"People, planet and profit--this is a very crucial theme. Many think these cannot co-exist but it is not so. They can and should work hand in hand,” he said a day after Standard and Poor’s affirmed its rating on India’s long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit at the lowest investment-grade level and retained its stable outlook on the economy.

Modi was speaking through video to the Indian Chamber of Commerce’s plenary session in Kolkata, reaching out to a major business chamber for the second time in less than 10 days after his government eased a weeks-long lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak in India.

Addressing the Indian Chamber of Commerce. Watch.

Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 11, 2020
"Coronavirus may have impeded our speed, but the reality today is that we have left the lockdown phase behind and now are in the Unlock 1.0 phase. Trust me, getting growth back is not so difficult after all," he told the Confederation of Indian Industry on June 2.

India's economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2019-20 fell to 3.1 per cent, a low not seen in more than 17 years, as private investment and manufacturing were hit hard. This was despite lockdown affecting activity on just a few days in March. Overall, the country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate in 2019-20 fell to an 11-year low of 4.2 per cent. This was lower than the government's own projection of 5 per cent in both first and second advance estimates.

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