KOLKATA: The challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic had presented an opportunity to turn India into an ‘Aatmanirbhar’ (self-reliant), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday.
Addressing the 95th annual plenary session of the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata through video conference, he said it was time for the country to come together and ensure that products imported from abroad are manufactured in the country and exported.
“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.
Stating that every citizen of the country has resolved to turn this crisis into an opportunity, he said, “We have to make this a major turning point for this nation. What is that turning point? A self-reliant India.”
“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.
Insisting on the use of products made in the country, he said it was time to be vocal about local and appealed to people to refrain from buying foreign products.
Modi 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 products.
He said the Northeast could become a huge hub of organic farming and capital of organic products with its own identity in the global market.