Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday conveyed his confidence to India Inc. that the country will get its pre-covid growth back and urged businesses to help make India atmanirbhar, or self-reliant, by boosting productivity and reducing import dependence. Addressing an annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industry, he spoke of various reforms undertaken by the government, in a speech that seemed to be primarily aimed at lifting corporate spirits, which have been dampened by the current economic crisis.
That New Delhi has accorded priority to an economic revival was clear in much of what Modi said. Without growth, the going for India could get tough even on saving lives from covid-19. What is unclear, however, is whether the actions taken so far by the Centre can achieve the stated goal. Most measures aim to ease supply-side constraints, while demand destruction has been left largely unaddressed. A big direct stimulus could have done the job. Without one, India’s investment rate, on a downward trend even before the pandemic, seems unlikely to perk up. Then again, the government has hinted that it is not done with its rescue efforts.