PM Modi's special package: Is it seeding the rise of privatization? Here's what FM said

In her fourth press conference of unveiling the mega economic package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to uplift the vulnerable communities in the wake of the nationwide lockdown, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced how the stimulus would be pumped into the economy for the development of employment and for focusing on the structural reforms in the important sectors. 

In her address, the Finance Minister has, for yet another time, reiterated that the Central government is not looking India inwards through the vision of 'Self-reliant India', rather the vision will make India rely on its strengths and the foundation of this vision was laid by Make in India campaign. 

According to the Finance Minister, the Center is going to focus on the eight sectors including minerals, coal, power sector, defense production, airspace management, atomic energy, space sector, and Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul sector (MROs) and she stated that many sectors need simplifications of policies with the view of making it simpler for people and these sectors can be boosted for growth and jobs once the congestions have been relieved. 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressing the press conference during the fourth tranche of Economic package announcement - May 16, 2020 - ANI Photo


The Center would be launching the schemes in the states through challenge mode for Industrial Cluster Upgradation of common infrastructure facilities and connectivity. The Finance Minister said that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit in defense manufacturing under automatic route has been raised from 49% to 74%. The Indian government will be reducing the import of the ammunitions.

Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the government would notify a list of weapons and platforms for a ban on imports with year-wise timelines. The government will be easing the restrictions on the utilization of Indian airspace for civilian flights and this would earn Rs 1000 crore a year benefitting the aviation sector and the private players will be investing Rs 13,000 crore in 12 airports as part of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

Nirmala Sitharaman claimed that the Prime Minister has a very strong record in taking up deep systematic reforms. The government will introduce competition, transparency, and the private sector participation in the Coal Sector through revenue sharing mechanism.  Investment of Rs 50,000 crore will be done in the Coal sector for the evaluation of the enhanced target of Coal India Limited and the development of diversified opportunities infrastructure. 

The power distribution in Union Territories, the sub-optimal performance of power distribution and supply, and power departments in the Union Territories will be privatized. The private sector will be allowed to use ISRO facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capabilities. The government will open future projects for planetary exploration for the private sector. Saturday's press conference was the fourth tranche of the announcement of the economic package and the Finance Minister largest touched upon the eight important sectors.


According to her announcement, it can be learned that the government has been encouraging the participation of the private players in the major economical sectors of the country and the government has used these sectors as prospects for enhancing the Public-Private Partnership. In her last three press conferences, Nirmala Sitharaman has announced the economic package to uplift migrant workers, farmers, MSMEs, self-employed people, and laborers. India is the mixed economy with governments playing a major role in the important and crucial sectors and letting the private players have the grounds on these sectors would inevitably raise the skepticism that the government is seeding the rise of privatization in these sectors under the guise of reviving the economy.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced Rs 20 lakh crore mega economic package that would be carried out by the government to revive the ailing economy devasted by the Coronavirus pandemic. In her four back to back tranches, the Finance Minister had unveiled the economic package and rolled out major announcements and according to ANI, she will be holding the fifth press conference to announce the last tranche of the economic package on Sunday at 11 am.