Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on 16 June that the Indian economy was witnessing a recovery, “cooperative federalism” helped India deal with the coronavirus disease pandemic, deaths were contained to a minimum and that, with adequate precautions, India could emerge from the battle against the disease with “minimal damage”.
Speaking at the beginning of a two-day meeting with chief ministers — the sixth such meeting on the pandemic between the Centre, and states and Union Territories — Modi reiterated that the national priority must be to protect both lives and livelihoods.
“Two weeks have passed since Unlock-1, our experience during this time could be beneficial for us in the future. Today, I will get to know ground reality from you, your suggestions will help in chalking out a future strategy,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. He added, “The recovery rate has gone above 50% in India”, referring to the number of recovered patients exceeding active cases.
“In the future, whenever India’s fight against Corona is examined, this time will also be remembered because we worked together, presented a fine example of cooperative federalism,” Modi said.
The prime minister went further to say that this has to be kept in mind that our economy will open as much as we are able to stop Corona, our offices, markets, modes of transport will open that much and new sources of income will open that much.
“The smaller factories we have are in need of guidance, hand-holding. I know that a lot of work is being done on this under your (CMs) supervision. So that trade and industry can catch up to its old pace, we will have to work together on value chains as well,” Modi said in his opening address.
On the economic front, Modi said efforts of the past few weeks led to a revival in the economy. “We are seeing green shoots in the economy. This, at a time when international agencies and economists expect a contraction of growth.”
“Power consumption, for instance has increased,” Modi said, adding, “the sale of two-wheelers is now at 70% of pre-lockdown numbers.” The increase in the sale of fertilisers in May and increase in kharif sowing and digital payments were the other “green shoots” that could be witnessed, he said. PM Modi also highlighted the role recent reforms in agriculture sector could play in benefitting the farming community.
Suyash Rai, who is a fellow at Carnegie India, said: “If you shut down the economy for three months, there is bound to be demand when you open up. We have to wait and see, however, if it is pent up demand due to the fact that you couldn’t buy anything, or it is actual recovery. So, we will have to wait for August to see if the demand stays consistent or tapers out.”
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said: “They (the CMs) provided feedback about existing health infrastructure in their states and efforts for augmentation to tackle the impact of the virus. They mentioned about the awareness campaigns being run by them, help being provided to workers who have returned home, usage of Aarogya Setu app, and kickstarting of economic activities in the states.”
Referring to the agriculture sector, the prime minister said that farmers have benefited greatly from the reforms done in the marketing of produce. “It has provided farmers with new ways to sell their products, their income will increase and we will also be able to decrease the loss faced by them due to lack of storage,” Modi told chief ministers.
Reiterating his push for local products, the prime minister said that the cluster-based approach adopted by the government will benefit each state. “It is important that that identify such products in each block and each district that can be rolled out into the nation’s and the world’s markets with processing or marketing,” Modi concluded.