New Delhi, May 12: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a massive economic stimulus package to rejuvenate the Indian economy ravaged by the coronavirus outbreak. The relief package is valued at Rs 20 lakh crore, Modi said, adding that it is aimed at improving the lives of farmers, labourers, small-medium scale entrepreneurs and industrialists who form the pillars of economy. PM Narendra Modi Announces Lockdown 4 as Coronavirus Cases Continue to Rise in India, Says Details Will be Shared Before May 18.

"I announce a special economic package today. This will play an important role in the 'Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan'. The announcements made by the govt over COVID, decisions of RBI and today's package totals to Rs 20 Lakh Crores. This is 10% of India's GDP," Modi said.

The relief package comes at a time when the economy has nearly been grounded, with leading research agencies predicting India to struggle at clocking 2-2.5 percent growth in the current fiscal. The GDP was already plagued by a prolonged slowdown, and ended up hitting a roadblock due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Watch PM Modi Announcing Rs 20L Cr Economic Package

'Self-Reliant India'

Since the past century, it was believed that the 21st century would belong to India, Modi said in his speech, adding that the time has come for the country to prove its self-reliant credentials.

"When India speaks of self-reliance, it does not advocate for a self-centered system. In India's self-reliance there is a concern for the whole world's happiness, cooperation and peace," the PM said.

"When the crisis started then not even a single PPE kit was manufactured in India, only a few N95 masks were available. Today 2 Lakh PPE kits and 2 Lakh N95 masks are manufactured in India daily," Modi added.

The Prime Minister also appealed the nation to consume and product locally manufactured products to aid the Indian manufacturers. "Time has taught us that we must make 'local' the mantra of our lives," he said.

"Global brands that are there today were once local too but when people there started supporting them they became global. That is why from today, every Indian must become vocal for our local," the PM appealed.

'World Never Saw Crisis Like This Before'

Modi, in his address, pointed that the world has never seen a crisis of this kind ever before. Such a health emergency was unheard of, the Prime Minister said, adding that it required an integrated, courageous and cautious approach to combat the crisis.

"We had never seen or heard about such a crisis ever before. This is definitely unimaginable for mankind. This was unprecedented. But humanity will not accept defeat from this virus. We have to not only protect ourselves but also move forward," the PM said.

"More than 42 lakh people from different countries have been infected by COVID-19, more than 2.75 lakh people have lost their lives due to the virus. In India too many families have lost their dear ones, I express my condolences to them," Modi added.

Fourth Phase of Lockdown from May 18: PM Modi

"Scientists say that coronavirus will be a part of our lives for a very long time. But we can't let our lives remain confined around Corona. We will wear masks and maintain social distancing but we will not let it affect us. So lockdown 4 will be in a new form with new rules," he said.

"Based on the suggestions by states, information related to lockdown 4 will be given to you before 18th May. We will fight Corona and we will move forward," the Prime Minister added.

The nationwide Lockdown in India was first imposed on March 25, on a short notice by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The shutdown saw the immediate termination of all public transport facilities, and all establishments irrespective of their size were directed to down their shutters. Only essential service providers were exempted.

While the lockdown was initially planned for 21 days, it was extended for another three weeks till May 3. The second round of shutdown saw partial relaxations, with certain economic activities allowed to resume in districts falling under orange and green zones.

The third phase of lockdown saw more lifting of restrictions, as several state and union territories allowed standalone shops - even those providing non-essential services and goods - to resume operations. The permit to run liquor shops was, however, rescinded in some states due to violation of social-distancing norms.

PM Modi, during his video-conference with Chief Ministers on Monday, hinted that more relaxations would be announced in fourth phase of the lockdown. "

"I am of the firm view that the measures needed in the first phase of lockdown were not needed during the second phase and similarly the measures needed in the third phase are not needed in the fourth," the PMO statement following the video-meet with CMs quoted Modi as saying.

On the day of Modi's address to the nation, the COVID-19 tally in India crossed 70,000. The number of active infections climbed to 46,008, whereas, the death toll has mounted to 2,293. The recovery rate improved to 31.7 percent, with 22,454 of the total patients being discharged so far. The mortality rate stands at 3.2 percent in India.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 12, 2020 08:29 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website