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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday interacted with industry representatives from ASSOCHAM, FICCI, CII and several local chambers from 18 cities across the country via video conference in the backdrop of coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
The Prime Minister said that while the government was working on giving a fillip to the pace of growth in the country, an unforeseen hurdle in the form of COVID-19 came in front of the economy. He said that the challenge posed by the pandemic is "graver than even that posed by the World Wars and we need to be on constant vigil to prevent its spread," read a statement.
Prime Minister Modi said that the fulcrum of the economy is trust. Trust has a unique yardstick - it is earned or lost in difficult and challenging times, he said and added that the parameters of trust are at a critical juncture in various sectors of the economy.
He said that several sectors like tourism, construction, hospitality and daily life engagements including the informal sector have been hit due to COVID-19. The impact on the economy will be felt for some time to come.
The industry representatives thanked the Prime Minister for leading from the front and taking swift, front-footed action to counter the threat, read the statement.
They informed the Prime Minister about the steps being taken by them to maintain supply lines of essential items and medical equipment including ventilators, assistance in the creation of isolation wards, utilization of CSR funds for combating COVID-19 and provision of assistance to migrant labor.
Moreover, the discussion was held regarding specific issues being faced by sectors like banking, finance, hospitality, tourism, infrastructure, and industry representatives requested for help to overcome these challenges through financial and fiscal assistance. Industry representatives also appreciated the importance of instituting a lockdown, irrespective of economic losses, to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Prime Minister thanked the industry representatives for speaking in one voice on the needs of the unorganized sector and said that this marks a new dawn of economic integration.
He asked them to allow employees to work from home wherever doing so is feasible through using technology. He exhorted them to adopt a humanitarian approach and not to cut down on the workforce in spite of the negative impact on their businesses.
Prime Minister Modi said it is imperative that the production of essential items should not be impacted at this time, and black marketing and hoarding be prevented. He reminded them about the importance of 'swachhta' and following medical advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at factories, offices, and workplaces.
The Prime Minister added that social distancing remains the biggest weapon in the fight against preventing the spread of coronavirus. He also requested them to use their CSR funding for humanitarian causes related to the pandemic at this critical juncture.
Principal Secretary, Cabinet Secretary and Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade also participated in the meeting.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)