Addressing the nation on 12 May, prime minister Narendra Modi unveiled a INR20trn (£217bn, $265bn, €246bn) economic stimulus to help in the fight against coronavirus.
“This package is about 10% of India’s GDP,” Modi said.
“With this, various sections of the country and those linked to [the] economic system will get support and strength of 20 lakh crore rupees.”
He said it would give “new impetus” to the country’s 2020 development journey and “a new direction to the self-reliant India campaign”.
India’s place in the world
The manta of self-reliance was prevalent throughout Modi’s speech, which he said will “prepare the country for a tough competition in the global supply chain”.
“And today, it is the need of the hour that India should play a big role in the global supply chain.”
This stance may have been influenced by the growing chatter that the world’s dependence on China has left countries and companies unable to meet demand.
Diversifying away from such reliance on one country, albeit a powerful and sizeable one, opens the door to other nations – with Modi looking to drive India to the front of the queue.
In fact, one of the most popular articles that has appeared in International Adviser this year asked: “Is India an investment antidote to the coronavirus?”
If Modi’s announcement is anything to go by, he wants the answer to that question to be “yes”.
The mammoth economic package is supported by five pillars on which “the magnificent building of self-reliant India will stand”, Modi said.
Economy – “that brings quantum jump rather than incremental change”.
Infrastructure – “that became the identity of modern India”.
Our system – “that is driven by technology which can fulfil the dreams of the 21st century; a system not based on the policy of the past century”.
Our demography – “our vibrant demography is our strength in the world’s largest democracy, our source of energy for self-reliant India”.
Demand – “the cycle of demand and supply chain in our economy is the strength that needs to b harnessed to its full potential”.
Modi continued: “In order to increase demand in the country and to meet this demand, every stakeholder in our supply chain needs to be empowered.
“We will strengthen our supply chain, our supply system built up with the smell of the soil and sweat of our labourers.”
He added that the package will benefit everyone from farmers, home enterprises, small-scale industry, the middle class “which pay taxes honestly and contributes to the development of our country”, and Indian industries.
Further details will be announced by the finance minister in the days following Modi’s address.