This was probably the first “8 o’clock” address to the nation by the PM which was a harbinger of good news; it was neither ominous nor did it fill us with dread. In fact it filled us all with hope. The PM spoke less about the virus and more about how this crisis can become an opportunity for India.
It was a speech of hope and inspiration; yes, nothing on the ground has changed, the Covid numbers are rising consistently and the danger is very much there, present and clear. Yet, when all we hear all the time is bad news, this was good. It all sounded Utopian in the current time but it sent out many messages.
Firstly, the PM said that the virus is here to stay and we need to learn to live with it using the norms of social distancing and masks. So life has to go on and we need to be responsible for our own lives. That was like just a passing remark but for most of us, life in the next few months will be scary, a new normal.
Secondly, he said that India needs to become self-reliant. He stressed about the “local,” the way in which domestic companies have risen to the occasion – the production of PPE and N95 masks manufacture. The virus has taught us the lesson of becoming more self-reliant.
What we understand from this is that though we have a global co-existence, we need to become suppliers to the world and not dependents. Buying local and promoting local brands, making our brands global is a good mantra to have – maybe this is indeed the biggest lesson this virus is teaching us. We only hope and pray that this is all not mere pep talk as the embarrassing pictures of migrants walking, the train running over the sleeping people on the track is still very hard to get over.
And what the market wanted the most – a mega economic package. He has announced a Rs.20 lakh crore economic package and this is 10% of the GDP and much beyond what anyone ever expected. This is currently more like a statement of intent as we do not know what this package is all about. The Finance Minister will announce it over the next few days, starting tomorrow. His talk included all – farmers, migrant labourers, tax payer, the middle class, the small scale, cottage industry, the MSMEs – its like almost everyone will gain. We have no details but eager to forget the IIP numbers which came in earlier, showing us that the economy is in shambles.
On the lockdown 4.0, the PM clearly hinted that there will be some kind of a lockdown but it will be a little different; maybe relaxations in some states but once again, we have to wait till 17th May to know what this fourth phase of lockdown will be.
The pep talk did help, we all felt very good but let’s wait and see what the next couple of days will bring. Thus the message we got – the lockdown will continue but we get a massive Rs.20 lakh crore economic package to make India self-reliant. We have now moved from survival to revival.
The market is sure to be inspired and celebrate the PM's pep talk tomorrow! But remember the devil is in the details; best to wait for the package to be opened up.