Self reliant India- Movement : An Opportunity

20 May 2020

Source: IBEF

At a time when the world is suffering from a deadly pandemic, India plans to convert this crisis into an opportunity and strengthen its fight by becoming Aatmanirbhar or self-reliant.

The term was coined by the Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi during his address to the nation on May 12, 2020. He called this campaign as Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan (Self- Reliant India Movement). He also defined five pillars of Aatmanirbhar Bharat – Economy, Infrastructure, System, Demography and Demand. He stressed upon the fact that it is time to become vocal for our local products and make them global. Under this campaign, a special economic package has been released by the government, which will benefit various segments including cottage industry, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), labourers, middle class, and industries, among others.

The economic package that was announced by the Prime Minister along with various packages released during the lockdown period comes to around Rs 20 lakh crore (US$ 283.73 billion), which is about 10 per cent of India's GDP. It is expected to provide support and strength to various sections of the country and give a renewed boost to the development journey of the country in 2020. In order to prove the determination of a self-reliant India, Land, Labour, Liquidity and Laws have all been emphasized in this package.

Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman made all the announcements related to various sectors on different days, split under five tranches and giving detailed information about the steps being carried out by the government.

Tranche 1 (Businesses including MSMEs)

The first measure being focussed on was the idea of Getting back to work i.e., facilitating employees and employers, businesses, especially MSMEs, to get back to production and workers back to gainful employment. Plans to strengthen Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), Housing Finance Companies (HFCs), Micro Finance Sector and Power Sector were also unfolded.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGK) was introduced in April 2020 in order to provide relief to underprivileged and help them fight the battle against COVID-19. The budget allocated to the scheme was Rs 1.70 lakh crore (US$ 24.12 billion). The support was given in the form of:

  • Insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh (US$ 70,932) per health worker
  • Five kg (kilogram) wheat or rice per person and one kg pulses for each household been given free to 80 crore people for the next three months
  • Rs 500 (US$ 7.09) to be transferred in the account of 20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders for the next three months
  • 8 crore poor families provided with gas cylinders, free of cost, for the next three months
  • MNREGA wage increased to Rs 202 (US$ 2.86) a day from Rs 182 (US$ 2.58) to benefit 13.62 crore families
  • Three crore poor senior citizen, poor widows and poor Divyang given ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 (US$ 14.18)
  • Front-loaded Rs 2,000 (US$ 28.37) being paid to farmers under existing PM-KISAN to benefit 8.7 crore farmers
  • Building and Construction Workers Welfare Fund allowed to be used to provide relief to workers
  • 24 per cent of monthly wages to be credited into PF accounts for the next three months for wage-earners below Rs 15,000 (US$ 212.79) per month in businesses having less than 100 workers
  • Five crore workers registered under Employee Provident Fund (EPF) to get non-refundable advance of 75 per cent of the amount or three months of the wages, whichever is lower, from their account
  • Limit of collateral free lending to be increased from Rs 10 to Rs 20 lakh (US$ 0.01 to 0.03 million) for Women Self Help Groups supporting 6.85 crore households
  • District Mineral Fund (DMF) to be used for supplementing and augmenting facilities of medical testing, screening etc.

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