New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday interacted with industry representatives via video conference from ASSOCHAM, FICCI, CII and several local Chambers from eighteen cities across the country.
PM said that while the government was working on giving fillip to the pace of growth in the country, an unforeseen hurdle in the form of COVID-19 came in front of the economy. He said that the challenge posed by the pandemic is graver than even that posed by the World Wars and we need to be on constant vigil to prevent its spread.
PM said that the fulcrum of the economy is trust. Trust has a unique yardstick – it is earned or lost in difficult and challenging times. The parameters of trust are at a critical juncture in various sectors of the economy. He said that several sectors like tourism, construction, hospitality and daily life engagements including the informal sector have been hit due to COVID-19. The impact on the economy will be felt for some time to come.
The industry representatives thanked the PM for leading from the front and taking swift, front-footed action to counter the threat. They informed him about the steps being taken by them to maintain supply lines of essential items and medical equipment including ventilators, assistance in creation of isolation wards, utilization of CSR funds for combating COVID-19 and provision of assistance to migrant labour.
They discussed the specific issues being faced by sectors like banking, finance, hospitality, tourism, infrastructure and requested for help to overcome these challenges through financial and fiscal assistance. Industry representatives also appreciated the importance of instituting a lockdown, irrespective of economic losses, to prevent the spread of the virus.
PM thanked the industry representatives for speaking in one voice on the needs of the unorganized sector and said that this marks a new dawn of economic integration. He asked them to allow employees to work from home wherever doing so is feasible through using technology. He exhorted them to adopt a humanitarian approach and not to cut down on workforce in spite of the negative impact on their businesses.
He said it is imperative that production of essential items should not be impacted at this time, and black marketing and hoarding be prevented. He reminded them about the importance of ‘swachhta’ and following medical advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at factories, offices and workplace. He added that social distancing remains our biggest weapon in our fight against preventing the spread of the virus. He also requested them to use their CSR funding for humanitarian causes related to the pandemic at this critical juncture.