New economic stimulus package announced . . .
Amid mounting pressure, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a second economic stimulus package on May 12. This second package is worth C$374 billion, nearly 10 per cent of India’s GDP, making it one of the largest economic responses to COVID-19 in the world. India has been under a complete lockdown since March 24, bringing nearly the entire economy to a halt and severely impacting the poorest and the most vulnerable, including farmers and migrant labourers. The May announcement adds to a much smaller stimulus package worth C$31.9 billion announced in March. The second package also launches a campaign to create a self-reliant India, potentially leading the country along a new development path.
Campaign for a self-reliant India . . .
According to the May 12 speech, the vision of a self-reliant India will be achieved through five pillars – rapid economic growth, modern infrastructure, technology, vibrant demography, and demand. The campaign will include reforms to encourage business, attract investment, and strengthen the case for the Make in India initiative launched in 2014. The special economic package is designed to achieve these things by emphasizing and creating new policies on land, labour, liquidity, and laws. Modi advocated for a more local approach by highlighting the importance of local manufacturing, local markets, and local supply chains.
Mixed views on the campaign . . .
The launch of the self-reliant campaign has been lauded by the public with #vocalforlocal and #localpevocal going viral on social media, with some major Indian companies already promoting their products using these hashtags. Opposition leaders see this campaign as a rebranding of the Make in India initiative, which lost its steam due to corruption and bureaucratic systems hampering Modi promises regarding the easing of doing business and investment in India. Based on this recent history, skeptics doubt this campaign will translate into actions, highlighting the need to watch as the situation unfolds.
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