Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh

Imphal: Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh has welcomed the steps taken by the Centre to uplift the country’s economy during the nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic.

In a televised interview, CM Biren said that Rs 20 lakh crore which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a mega economic stimulus package was a bold step as the package is equivalent to 10 per cent of India’s GDP.

While elaborating the key points announced by the Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman under Atma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (or Self Reliant India Movement), Singh expressed hope that the state would also benefit in multiple sectors.

Earlier, PM Modi had expressed that the country would view the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to achieve economic self-reliance. He also stressed on the importance of promoting local products through local-based manufacturing products, as per reports.

Informing that the Central government has announced to provide Rs 3 lakh crore collateral-free automatic loans for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Singh said that Manipur having 13,000 registered MSMEs in the state, the highest number of MSMEs in the Northeast, could benefit largely and bring major reforms in the state’s economy.

Refining the MSME sector will also create huge opportunities for the people of the state as the investment limit has been revised upwards to Rs 1 crore as compared to Rs 25 lakh earlier, he said.

Moreover, as the Centre has decided one-time liquidity infusion of Rs 90 crore for all power distribution companies (discoms), the Manipur State Power Distribution Company Limited (MSPDCL) is likely to get huge relief in repaying dues, Singh further said.

As per the Centre’s announcement, the fisheries department has been upgraded to a major department and Manipur can reap the benefits from this decision as the state is suited for fisheries sector, he added.

Being home to the largest freshwater lake of the northeast India, Loktak Lake, the state has huge prospect not only for self-sufficiency but also could developed for mass production.

In regards to state’s initiative to evacuate stranded persons, Singh said that around 1,140 state natives have arrived at Jiribam in a special train from Chennai on Wednesday. He has also appealed to those who have recently returned to the state to disclose their travel histories honestly so that the authorities may take up necessary measures to curb the spread of the virus in the state.

The state will bring more stranded people home soon, he added.

Singh also appealed the people of the state to cooperate and encourage the steps taken up to contain the spread of the virus in the with every possible way despite having limited resources.

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