Regular-article-logo Tuesday, 03 October 2023

Assam Covid-19 cases up, economy awaits stimuli

Congress sceptical of Centre’s package

A Staff Reporter Guwahati Published 13.05.20, 10:09 PM
Farmers plough a paddy field in Assam’s Gohpur on Wednesday.

Farmers plough a paddy field in Assam’s Gohpur on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos

The Opposition Congress on Wednesday expressed doubts on whether the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his call to the country to become self-reliant would be reflected on the ground.

Modi had on Tuesday announced the combined stimulus package, saying that the coronavirus crisis had provided India an opportunity to become self-reliant and emerge as the best in the world.


Following it up, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday made a few announcements, many of them aimed at giving relief to the micro, small & medium enterprises (MSME). She said more announcements would come gradually.

Modi’s announcement has made the ruling BJP in the state triumphant, as it had been facing the Opposition’s allegations that Modi, in his previous speeches, did not address urgent and important issues arising out of Covid-19. The Opposition had pointed out how a state like Kerala had announced an economic package to combat the pandemic while there was no such announcement from the Centre.

Before Modi’s speech, Assam PCC president Ripun Bora had questioned whether he would spell out the government’s roadmap to revive the country’s economy that was damaged by the lockdown.

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Debabrata Saikia on Wednesday said the Centre had earlier launched a similar campaign, Make in India, but it had little impact on the ground. “Following the campaign, the industry sector of the state did not progress as many had hoped. Although the Rs 20 lakh crore package is a welcome move, the impact will depend on its implementation,” he said.

Saikia pointed out that the Centre’s earlier announcements, like depositing Rs 500 a month in the bank accounts of the poor, had allegedly not been implemented yet.

He said the future of the country’s industrial sector would depend upon the Centre’s success in convincing workers, who without work and money were forced to return home, to go back to their workplaces across the county.

On the other hand, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal thanked Sitharaman for “carefully crafted fiscal relief package on MSME that need immediate support”. He said Sitharaman had clearly articulated the government’s plan to revive the economy and turn India into a growth centre.

State finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said Modi’s announcement was “especially designed to alleviate problems of the poor and marginalised”.

He said Modi’s call for self-reliance was different from the isolationist and protectionist self-reliance movements across the world. “Self-reliance in Sri @narendramodi’s vision for India is not exclusionary. It aims at improving efficiency, competing with world, and helping the world,” he tweeted.

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