Post-Covid scenario both a challenge and an opportunity for India: Jitendra Singh

by Times of India

Union Minister Jitendra Singh (PTI)

NEW DELHI: The post-Covid scenario is both a challenge as well as an opportunity for India, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Monday.

Addressing an event, he said the concept of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat‘ has no conflict with modernity, growth and advancement, but it aims to achieve the goal of a self-reliant India in a peaceful, progressive and prosperous manner.

“Care and concern for the distressed, promotion and production of local goods, moving from assembling to manufacturing are the true essence of Atma Nirbhar Bharat, where one is self-reliant with esteem without depriving oneself of the fruits of development,” Singh said, virtually addressing the 114th Foundation Day ceremony of the Mumbai-based IMC Chamber of Commerce of Industry.

He said that Indian Merchants’ Chamber’s (IMC) role is crucial in the post-Covid economy and for realising the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Mission of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, said, being the oldest chamber of commerce in the country, of which Mahatma Gandhi was also a member, the IMC has a glorious past and a great legacy, with equally high expectations from it for the future.

He said, a self-reliant India is key to the concept of Atma Nirbhar Bharat and reputed business bodies like the IMC are expected to take a call, a statement issued by the Personnel Ministry said.

Singh said, in the post-Covid scenario, when the whole world is trying to rise to the occasion, for India it is both a challenge as well as an opportunity, according to the statement.

“Esteem of using what is available locally and the urge to create or produce what is not available locally, is the essence of ‘vocal for local’,” the minister said.

Singh said that Prime Minister Modi had unveiled the Atma Nirbhar package in the wake of coronavirus pandemic to help all sectors and wheels of economy with more than Rs 20 lakh crore, which is about 10% of GDP.

He said that the vocal for local mantra given by the prime minister is fast becoming a Jan Andolan (mass campaign) in India.

Referring to several steps taken to promote MSMEs, Singh pointed to the government notification banning global tenders for projects below Rs 200 crore to ensure that goods and services are procured from domestic firms.

He said, Atma Nirbhar means, “we should reduce the import of goods as much as possible and produce the same not only for India, but also for the world”.

Giving the example of huge bamboo resources in India and its untapped potential, the minister said that despite 5 to 6 thousand crores of annual Bamboo trade, the entire Agarbatti is imported from other countries.

He said, now the government is taking measures to rectify the same and pointed out that the Modi government had amended the century-old Forest Act by taking home grown bamboo out of the purview of the Forest Act.

The Central government has also banned import of finished bamboo products and raised the import duty by 25 percent on raw bamboo items, which will help the domestic bamboo industries including Agarbatti making in a big way, he said.

President, IMC, Rajiv Podar delivered the welcome address, while the vote of thanks was presented by Vice President, IMC, Juzar Khorakiwala, the statement said.

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