Covid-19 crisis: PM Modi says growth will return, more reforms in the works

Narendra Modi assured India Inc. of help whenever there was need. “Aap do kadam uthayenge hum chaar kadam uthayenge (you take two steps and we will take four steps),” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asserted that India would return to high growth and promised that his government would undertake further reforms with the help of inputs provided by industry. India’s economic growth crashed to a 69-quarter low of 3.1 per cent in January-March 2019-20.


Modi urged industry to come up with studies on each sector of the economy. “We will together take up large structural reforms that will change the course of our country,” he said at the 125th annual general meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).


He said the pandemic might have applied the brakes on the speed of the economic growth, but the country had left behind the phase of lockdown and entered the first phase of unlocking. Large parts of the economy have been opened in the unlock phase 1, the prime minister said, adding further areas would be opened on June 8.


“This means the process of getting back growth has been initiated,” Modi said.


The home ministry on Saturday said “Unlock-1” would be initiated in the country on June 8. Under it, the nationwide lockdown, since March 25, will be relaxed to a great extent. This will include opening shopping malls, restaurants, and religious places. However, strict restrictions will remain in place till June 30 in containment zones.


The prime minister’s comments came even as various analysts have predicted a contraction of up to 7 per cent in GDP in the current fiscal year. The economy grew by an 11-year low of 4.2 per cent during 2019-20, reminding people of the global financial crisis of 2008-09, which, however, produced a lower growth rate of 3.1 per cent.


The prime minister tackled this issue too.  “Some of you may question me as to why am I so confident at this hour of crisis. I have many reasons to be confident. I have confidence in capabilities of India and her crisis management, he said.


“I have confidence in India’s talent and technology. I have confidence in India’s intellect and innovation. I have confidence in India’s farmers; micro small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs); and entrepreneurs. I have confidence in industry leaders, you all,” he told industry members.


He asked India Inc. to help products made in India become global so that employment could be generated and the import bill was reduced.


“You have to set targets to achieve this goal,” he urged industry.


In this regard, he said work on furniture, air-conditioners, and leather and footwear had been initiated. He pointed out that India imported 30 per cent of its requirements in air-conditioners.


The prime minister said while it was essential to save lives, it was also important to have economic stability.


He pointed out that large segments of India’s economy had been opened up for the private sector and it was being allowed in other areas too.


He wondered why India imported a huge quantity of coal despite having the third-largest stock in the country.


“These decisions will have far-reaching repercussions. Industry and the youth will get opportunities in various sectors such as mining, energy, and research and technology. Opportunities are being created for private investment in strategic sectors as well, be it atomic energy or space,” he said.


Stating that his policy to make India self-reliant banked on five Is — intent, inclusion, innovation, infrastructures, and investments — he said many sectors were being prepared to be ready for growth.


“India is ready to leapfrog for high-future growth,” the prime minister said.


The prime minister also cited the reforms to encourage MSMEs.


He assured India Inc. of help whenever there was need. “Aap do kadam uthayenge hum chaar kadam uthayenge (you take two steps and we will take four steps),” he said.


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