19:24 GMT13 July 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): On 12 May, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a $266 billion stimulus package to help the economy, which has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes stimulus and reform measures for sectors like agriculture, as well as micro and small businesses, among others.

    Stressing that getting economic growth back in the post COVID-19 era is not that hard, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked industry leaders to think big and promised more structural reforms to make the economy self-reliant and competitive globally.

    In his address to Indian industrialists at an event of the industry body the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) on Tuesday, Modi also said that the economy is one of the top priorities for the government, adding that they have to save people's lives as well as stabilise the economy in the post-COVID-19 era. 

    "Our aim is not only to save lives but also stabilise and speed up the Indian economy. I am confident that we will get the economic growth back. I ask you to think big as it is not difficult to get growth back when we are guided by the principles of self-reliance", said PM Modi in his address to industrialists. 

    The PM also said that even though COVID-19 has slowed India down, the biggest reality is that the country has left the lockdown behind. "Large part of the Indian economy is open and large part will be open on 8 June", Modi added. 

    Emphasising that India took timely steps on the pandemic, PM Modi said that the lockdown had helped consolidate physical and conserve human resources. 

    Modi announced a nationwide lockdown beginning 25 March. The lockdown now continues only in the containment zones, with a number of relaxations already provided. India has resumed train and aviation services. Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India has mounted to 198,706. According to the Indian Health Ministry, the virus has claimed 5,598 lives so far in the country.

    India's economic growth has, meanwhile, slipped: Gross Domestic Product for the financial year 2019-20 (April 2019-March 2020) has come down to 4.2 percent against the earlier expectation of 5 percent, which is almost a decade-low. For the current financial year (2020-21), the GDP growth is expected to remain negative for at least three quarters until December 2020. 


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