NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said while India along with the rest of the world was facing a challenge from COVID-19 pandemic, it was also an opportunity to secure a bright future by becoming self-reliant.
“The world is fighting coronavirus and India is also fighting it. But other problems are also cropping up. We had the problems of flood, locusts, and drought. In Assam, there is this problem oil well fire. Tremors were also reported from some places. Two cyclones emerged as challenges in eastern and western India. Sometimes, several challenges come together. Time puts us to a test. However, such tests come with a guarantee for a bright future,” Modi said while addressing the annual plenary session of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
Stating that willpower decides the road ahead and the resolve to face challenges together is India’s strength, he said the only medicine to tackle problems was strength.
The PM said the Indians were determined to turn the crisis arising out of COVID-19 into an opportunity. It is turning out to be a turning point for India and Indians to become self-reliant, he believed.
“I see people wishing if India were self-reliant in medical equipment, defence production, coal, mineral and fertilizer sectors, electronic manufacturing, solar panels, batteries and chip manufacturing, aviation sector. There are countless wishes and they have always troubled every Indian. The solution to all these can come from Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. Coronavirus has given us an opportunity to step up our resolve to be self-reliant and not depend on imports,” Modi said.
In this regard, he insisted on the use of local items stating that it was time to be vocal about local.
He appealed to people to restrain themselves from buying foreign products that are also manufactured in India and available by the roadside and in localities.
“By buying these items from our people, we don’t just give them the price but also respect their labour and encourage them. We don’t understand how much they are influenced when we buy their products. They feel proud,” Modi said.
He said the reforms made in the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act and Essential Commodities Act had given recognition to the farmers as producers and their produce as products. He said the jute industry in West Bengal, bamboo, and organic sectors in the Northeast would be given importance.
The PM said the Northeast could become a huge hub of organic farming and the capital of organic products with its own identity in the global market.
“The Northeast can become a huge hub of organic farming like Sikkim. It can become an organic capital. If the industries associated with the ICC come forward, organic farming could be a revolution in the Northeast,” Modi said, adding “You can give it a global identity and monopolise the global market with organic products”.