A migrant worker wearing a face mask sits outside his shanty during the lockdown in New Delhi, India, May 13, 2020. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a special economic package of 267 billion U.S. dollars to make the country self-reliant amid a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. (Xinhua/Javed Dar)
NEW DELHI, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon his countrymen on Tuesday to try and make the COVID-19 pandemic crisis into an opportunity and become self-reliant in terms of manufacturing activities.
Addressing the nation on Tuesday night, Modi announced a special economic package of 267 billion U.S. dollars to make the country self-reliant amid a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.
This stimulus package would include the packages already announced by the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in the past couple of months to revive India's economy. This economic package would be "around 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP)."
Modi also said the country will enter into the fourth phase of lockdown to fight the COVID-19 pandemic with effect from May 18. The ongoing third phase of lockdown is slated to end on May 17. The lockdown began on March 25.
"The fourth phase of lockdown will have new rules which will be announced soon," Modi added.
The prime minister elaborated that the special economic package would focus on five pillars, Economy, Infrastructure, Technology Driven System, Vibrant Demography and Optimum Use of Demand-Supply Chain.
Welcoming the latest stimulus package, President of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Sharad Kumar Saraf said the initiatives heralded the arrival of New India.
Saraf believed that the increasing localization was a fallout of COVID-19 across the globe but this will make market access for exports more difficult. He suggested the stimulus package should address both supply and demand side challenges emanating from COVID-19.
"However, if we can integrate into the global value chain, we are up for a quantum jump in exports," he added.
This was Modi's fifth address to the nation in the past seven weeks.
"This could be made possible as India converted the crisis into an opportunity. Let India be more self-reliant. While becoming self-reliant India won't be self-centered, but will continue to work for world peace and growth," Modi said.
The prime minister urged his countrymen to buy locally produced products.
"We haven't seen or heard about this kind of world crisis. This is unimaginable and unprecedented for humanity. But we can't be careless, rather we have to be alert, obey rules and laws in the fight against COVID-19," he said.
"We have to save ourselves and move ahead with a strong resolve, stronger than the crisis itself. We must seize the opportunity and be self-reliant by increasing our production capacity."