Modi asks industrialists to take bold decisions for self-reliance

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Delhi says its relief package is bigger than Pak GDP

NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged Indian industry leaders to set up globally-competitive domestic supply chains and turn the coronavirus crisis into an opportunity to become a self-reliant nation.

“This is not the time for a conservative approach. It is time for bold decisions and bold investments,” he said while addressing the 95th annual plenary session of the Indian Chambers of Commerce (ICC) in Kolkata through video conferencing.

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers the inaugural address of the 95th annual day of Indian Chamber of Commerce via video conferencing, in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI Photo)

“We have to take the Indian economy out of ‘command and control’ and take it towards ‘plug and play’ mode. 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,” the Prime Minister said.

While the world is battling coronavirus, India is fighting that too. But there are other issues also. “Flood, locusts, hailstorm, fire in an oil well, small earthquakes, two cyclones — we are fighting all of these together,” he said.

The Prime Minister said he gets a sense that every citizen of the country has resolved to face adversity with determination. “This will be a turning point in our history as we become self-reliant. Atmanirbhar Bharat is the manifestation of the dream every Indian has seen for all these years.”

He said the country must exercise restraint on imports to strengthen micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Some of the areas where India can take a lead include medical equipment, defence production, solar panels, batteries, chip manufacturing and aviation.

Reply to Pakistan:

Meanwhile, In a sharp reply to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer to help with the cash transfer technology to aid the poor during the coronavirus pandemic, India reminded its neighbour that the size of the economic relief package extended by New Delhi to its citizens during the pandemic is as large as Pakistan’s GDP.

An official statement from the ministry of external affairs on Thursday also reminded Islamabad that Pakistan had a “debt problem covering 90% of the country’s GDP”. “Pakistan would do well to recall that they have a debt problem which covers 90% of their GDP. As far as India goes, our stimulus package is as large as the GDP of Pakistan,” said Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for the foreign affairs ministry