[TechSparks 2020] FM Nirmala Sitharaman lauds businesses for resilience amidst COVID-19; says government here to listen and do what India needs
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday acknowledged the efforts put in by businesses in India to revive the economy amidst the coronavirus pandemic, and urged more participation from the public sector in telling the government what the country needs.
"I want to take this opportunity to thank every business leader for the amazing amount of self-motivation they have shown weathering the storm and coming out of it strongly," said FM Nirmala Sitharaman, during her virtual fireside chat at TechSparks 2020.
She added that the resilience and moral courage shown by businesses and the people of India brought tears to her eyes.
Promulgating Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' message, she clarified that the intention of the movement was not to shut the Indian economy down to exports or foreign trade, but to explore and expand the domestic market such that supply and demand can both find business within the country.
"The intention of Aatmanirbhar Bharat is not to make India look inwards, stop imports, or shut the country down. Whilst India has to strive to become a part of the global value chain, we cannot allow the strengths of India to be eroded," the finance minister said.
For the country to truly become Aatmanirbhar, Sitharaman said India needed to produce world-class products, in-situ, and not depend on imports. And these world-class products should be able to not only satisfy domestic demands, but should be of a quality that attracts even international demand.
To the youth, businesses of all sizes, and the general populace of the country, she had an important message: "The government is listening, so ask for what you want."
"The best time to do something new is today. Don't hold back; tell us what you want India to do for you. Nothing should hold us back from doing what we want to do," she said.
"As young people of the country, tell us (the government) what is not happening. I, for one, will take this seriously. Do ask questions; we are here to answer. What is not happening is certainly something that I want you all to speak about," she said.
Reiterating IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad's message at TechSparks 2020 today, she urged businesses to not only adopt technology, but also use it to create new things.
"We want a new India, and we are ready to facilitate," she said.
The government has taken several measures already to boost the economy. Earlier this month, Sitharaman had announced a Rs 73,000 crore stimulus package, including advance payment of a part of wages to central government employees and cash in lieu of LTC, to catalyse consumer demand, and increase spending and investment in an economy battered by COVID-19.
In May, the government had announced a Rs 20 lakh crore 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' stimulus package, to catalyse economic recovery.