Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed BJP workers on the party's foundation day Monday | Photo: ANI
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi | ANI
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New Delhi: With a significant shift from conversations on death tolls and hotspots, prime time news Wednesday focused on Prime Minister Modi’s Rs 20-lakh crore fiscal package and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s follow-up press conference Wednesday that laid out the details of this stimulus. Sitharaman discussed a slew of measures for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

This plan was like “oxygen” for MSMEs, said both Rohit Sardana on Aaj Tak and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari while speaking to CNN IBN’s Marya Shakil.

ABP News spoke to business leader and former CEO of Britannia industries Sunil Alagh, who was not happy with the package.

India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai, on the other hand, focused on how the new plan had caused yet another “tug-of-war” between a former and the current finance minister.

On CNN IBN, ‘News Epicentre’ anchor Marya Shakil interviewed Nitin Gadkar, Union Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

Shakil reminded Gadkari that the last time she spoke to him, he stressed on the “opportunity in crisis” that Covid-19 presented, and enquired whether this stimulus was the “much awaited and needed booster dose” for MSMEs.

“Hundred per cent,”, he answered, and called PM Modi’s announcement a “historic event”. For MSMEs, this package, which accounts for 10 per cent of the GDP, is akin to “giving oxygen to a serious patient”, he exclaimed.

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On Aaj Tak, anchors Anjana Om Kashyap and Rohit Sardana, too, discussed “oxygen” support for MSMEs given by the “mega” package announced by PM Modi.

“Kiss sector ko kitni rahat” (what sector gets how much relief) was the question on everyone’s mind after PM Modi promised a “bhari bharkam package” (big bumper package), they stated.

The anchors also spoke about Modi’s call for self-reliance in his speech Tuesday night. “Aatma nirbharta ka abhiyaan iss halat mein kargar hoga, jab jaan phookne ke liye paise ko dala jayega,” (The project of self-reliance will be fulfilled when money is offered for livelihoods) said Kashyap.

But the big question, according to Sardana, was if “opening this treasure chest” would be enough to revive the economy. Will those businesses who have lost everything will be able to come alive, he asked.

On ABP News, host Rubika Liyaquat discussed the package with Sunil Alagh, who could not hide his disappointment. He lamented how instead of addressing the plight of the poor, Modi indicated that the Rs 500 that had been transferred to their accounts at the beginning of the lockdown was enough.

However, Rs 500 cannot do anything, especially considering Rs 20 lakh crores were promised for MSMEs — which was “too much”, according to Alagh.

He continued to express disapproval at how land laws, legal reforms were unaddressed, before Liyaquat cut him off and announced that Goa CM Pramod Sawant had joined in. Alagh’s audio was swiftly cut and she shifted her focus to Sawant.

Sawant expressed his gratitude to PM Modi, and said that FM Sitharaman’s detailed speech about MSMEs showed that the package was the right step in “boosting the economy once again”.

Liyaquat then cut him off as well, and announced that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had joined in to praise the fiscal package. Phew!

On India Today, Rajdeep Sardesai discussed the Rs 20-lakh crore package with several medical puns.

“Nirmala Sitharaman announced 6 booster shots for MSMEs” and “PM Modi’s vaccine for the economy”, he said. Sardesai then went on to discuss how the Opposition was unimpressed with the package, with West Bengal Chief Mamata Banerjee, for instance, accusing the prime minister of ignoring the poor.

Moreover, former finance minister and Congress leader P. Chidambaram and Sitharaman were once again in a “tug of war against finance package”. A split screen appeared with clips of the two on either side.

On one hand, Sitharaman elaborated on the “several schemes” for the poor that the Centre had enacted in light of the pandemic. On the other, Chidambaram squarely said that the package includes “nothing, absolutely nothing” for the lakhs of hungry, devastated and poor migrant workers who have been walking back to their home states. “A cruel blow to those who toil every day,” he declared.

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