A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an economic package worth Rs 20 lakh crore to help the nation cope with the impact of coronavirus and the lockdown of large parts of the economy, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to list out the details of the package at 4pm on Wednesday.
According to government sources, the package announcement did take time but is comprehensive after wider consultations with small to big businesses. They added that inputs were taken from various associations and chambers and PM Modi took keen interest in the detailing of the package.
This is the first of a series of press briefings by the Finance Minister in the coming days.
The PM, in his fourth televised address on the Covid-19 situation, said the economic package will empower all sections of the society, from the often neglected labourer and hawker, to employment generating industries and the honest tax-paying middle-class, and will also help India compete on the global stage.
"The special economic package is for our labourers, farmers, honest tax payers, MSMEs and industry,” he said.
The sum of 20 lakh crore will also include the earlier financial relief declared by Sitharaman worth Rs 1.17 lakh crore and the monetary easing announced by the Reserve Bank of India. The package, Modi said, constitutes close to 10 per cent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP), and it will focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws.
The new package comes as India further opens up its economy with riders in the fourth phase of the national lockdown starting on May 18, with fewer restrictions. Industries and states have been demanding a fiscal stimulus package from the Centre to soften the impact of the financial crunch arising due to covid-19 outbreak.
Modi said that the nationwide lockdown will have to be extended further, but said the “lockdown 4.0” will be entirely different with new sets of rules, hinting that it would lead to considerable more relaxations as the government shifts its focus towards reopening of the economy.
He said that coronavirus is here to stay, but our lives cannot revolve around it. "Corona will be with us for a long time but our lives cannot revolve around corona. We will wear masks, we will follow six feet distance, but we won't let our focus stray," he stressed, indicating major relaxations after May 17.