In her fifth consecutive day press conference while going in detail announcing the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package, Union finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “We need now to build an Aatmamnirbhar Bharat”.
As a nation, we stand at a very crucial juncture. Such a big disaster is a signal for India, it has brought a message and opportunity, she said.
“In order to prove the resolve of an Aatmanirbhar Desh, land, labour, liquidity and laws have all been emphasised in Aatmanirbhar Bharat Package. The crisis and the challenge is an opportunity to build a Self Reliant India,” she said.
“We will today be continuing in the series of reforms announced. Soon after lockdown, we came with PM Garib Kalyan Package, we provided food grains to those who needed it, we did not want to scout for money to search for grains,” she said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his reaction to the announcements
Measures and reforms announced by the FM today will have a transformative impact on our health and education sectors. They will boost entrepreneurship, help public sector units and revitalise the village economy. Reform trajectories of the states will also get an impetus.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 17, 2020
“Pulses too were given 3 months in advance. I appreciate the concerted efforts of FCI, NAFED and states, giving pulses and grains in huge quantities, despite logistical challenges,” she said.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package used technology to do direct benefit transfer to people, we could do what we did because of the initiatives taken during the last few years, she said.
“One-time transfer of Rs 2,000 has reached 8.19 crore farmers, total amount Rs 16,394 crore. NSAP beneficiaries got Rs 1,405 crore in first installment & Rs 1,402 crore in second instalment, target of Rs 3,000 crore nearly achieved,” Sitharaman said.
“20 crore Jan Dhan account holding women got Rs 10,025 crores. 2.2 crore building and construction workers got Rs 3,950 crores. 6.81 crore people got free LPG cylinders and12 lakh EPFO holders got online withdrawal of advance,” she said.
“Shramik special trains were started when it was possible for workers to move, states were requested to bring workers to stations, 85% cost was borne by the Central government,” the FM said.
Sitharaman announced that the Centre has allocated an additional amount of Rs 40 thousand crores under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
“This was done because, Jaan Hai To Jahaan Hai. Lives were given priority. In a post-Covid era, livelihoods too have to come into full play. To take care of new considerations, our attempt is to ensure both lives and livelihoods,” she said.
Finance Minister touched on the migrant crisis as well saying ” I want to tell the Opposition party that on the issue to migrants we all must work together. We are working with all states on this issue. With folded hands, I ask Sonia Gandhi ji that we must speak & deal with our migrants more responsibly”.