Uttarakhand CM says state won’t use Chinese equipment and devices in govt projects
The CM made the announcement during a press conference in the state secretariat in Dehradun while replying to a question from a media person on stopping Chinese involvement in government projects amid the growing boycott Chinese goods callUpdated: Jul 09, 2020 17:24 IST
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Thursday weighed in on the India-China border stand-off and announced that the state government would refrain from using any Chinese equipment and devices in state-run projects, while lavishing praise on the Central government’s Atmanirbhar or self-reliant programme that seeks to tide over the coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-induced economic distress.
Rawat made the announcement during a press conference in the state secretariat in Dehradun while replying to a question from a media person on stopping Chinese involvement in government projects amid the growing boycott Chinese goods call following a violent clash between India and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops in eastern Ladakh on June 15.
The incident had occurred in Galwan Valley along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
“Our government had discussed this issue a few days ago. We have decided not to use Chinese equipment and devices in any manner in our projects,” said Rawat.
The CM’s announcement came days after state tourism minister Satpal Maharaj had said that his department would reconsider all projects that have had Chinese involvement or raw materials are sourced from China.
Earlier, the hill state’s pharmaceutical industry had cautioned against the boycott Chinese goods call while drawing the state government’s attention to an overwhelming dependence on China for sourcing active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for manufacturing life-saving drugs.
It had warned that a boycott call could lead to an acute shortage of several drugs.
The sector has urged the state government to work out an alternative strategy before implementing a blanket ban on Chinese raw materials.
Earlier during the press conference, CM Rawat addressed the media persons on the steps taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to make the country Atmanirbhar or self-reliant.
“To revive the economy affected by the pandemic, PM Modi in a significant move has announced a stimulus package of Rs 20 lakh crore for various sectors. It will be very helpful in not only boosting the economy but also generating employment in the country,” said Rawat.
Citing the “major” steps taken in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, he said, “The Centre has focussed on the MSME sector. It is one sector, where employment could be provided to a significant number of people for a small investment. One major step in it was the announcement of the Centre on granting of loans without any guarantee for four years. It is a big gift for those, who are associated with the sector.”
The CM also lauded the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana.
“About 80 crore people have benefitted from the scheme under which each intended beneficiary is being provided with a monthly free ration of five kilograms (kg) of rice and one kg dal. Senior citizens were given three months pension in advance in a bid to ensure that they don’t face any difficulties during the Covid-19-induced lockdown restrictions.”
The CM also heaped praise on the Centre’s Agriculture Infrastructure Fund worth Rs 1 lakh crore in a bid to boost the country’s farm sector, including an uptick of minimum support price (MSP) for crops by at least one and a half times.
He also justified the government’s move of desisting from direct cash transfer but a raft of schemes and programmes in a bid to generate self-employment.
“Our government doesn’t believe in giving an egg to a needy for a day, but a hen for him to have eggs throughout the year. Cash will run out after a while, but schemes will help him earn a livelihood for long,” he said.
However, the opposition Congress took a potshot at the CM and punctured holes in his airy-fairy claims.
“Measures that have been taken to boost the economy and help the public during the lockdown restrictions and the raging Covid-19 pandemic are plain lies. The ground reality is vastly different, as no green shoots of government’s measures are visible,” said Suryakant Dhasmana, the party’s state vice-president.
“Atmanirbhar is a farce. It has left the public to fend for themselves and their own devices,” he alleged.