Finance Minister Addresses Press Conference

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is announcing new stimulus measures to rescue the economy out of a historic contraction. “A number of indicators have are showing that recovery is clearly happening in the economy… The strong recovery is based on the unrelenting reforms that the government has brought in a systematic manner,”  the Finance Minister said in a media briefing. Her press conference comes at a time when economists have called for the need for further impetus to aid a revival in an economy battered by the world’s biggest lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. The government’s last monetary and fiscal support of Rs 21 lakh crore, called the Atmanirbhar Bharat package, was introduced in May this year. Many economists say that the Atmanirbhar package has largely failed to soften blow of the strict coronavirus lockdown as it focused on providing liquidity and collateral-free credit for small businesses but with little actual spending. 

Here are key highlights of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s media briefing:

  • Going to announce few new measures
  • First, would like to give you a picture of economic situation, and impact on Atmanirbhar Bharat announcements made recently
  • Active cases of COVID-19 have declined 
  • In last 10-15 days, there have been many measures and indicators showing recovery clearly happening
  • The strong recovery is based on unrelenting reforms brought by government in a systematic manner
  • GST collections were at Rs 1.05 lakh crore in October, up 10% year-on-year
  • FDI inflows stood at $35.37 billion in April-August, up 13%
  • Bank credit growth has improved compared to last year, up.5.1% year-on-year (as of October 23)
  • Markets are at record highs, with market capitalisations at record levels (Catch latest updates here)
  • RBI’s forex reserves have reached $560 billion
  • RBI predicts strong likelihood of economy returning to growth in Q3
  • Moody’s has today revised India GDP projection to -8.9% (2020-21) from -9.6%
  • PROGRESS ON ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT 1.0 MEASURES:
    • Under the “One Nation, One Ration Card” scheme, interstate portability achieved in 28 states/Union Territories, covering 68.6 crore beneficiaries 
    • Intrastate portability also achieved, with 1.5 crore transactions a month
    • Under PM Steet Vendor’s Atmanirbhar Nidhi (PM Svanidhi) scheme, 26.32 lakh loan applications received, 13.78 lakh loans (amounting to Rs 1,373.33 crore) sanctioned in 30 states and six UTs
    • Kisan Credit Card: Credit boost achieved for 2.5 crore farmers
    • 1.83 lakh applications received
    • Under ECLG 1.0, Rs 2.05 lakh crore sanctioned to 61 lakh borrowers, Rs 1.52 lakh crore disbursed 
    • Under partial credit guarantee scheme, PSU banks approved purchase of portfolios worth Rs 26,889 crore
    • Under special liquidity scheme for non-banking financial companies/housing finance companies, Rs 7,227 crore disbursed
    • Rs 1,18,273 crore loans sanctioned to 17 states/UTs towards liquidity injection for power distribution companies, Rs 31,136 crore already disbursed to 11 states/UTs
  • PROGRESS ON ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT 2.0 MEASURES (ANNOUNCED ON OCT 12):
    • Festival advance launched for government staff, SBI Utsav Cards being disbursed 
    • Leave Travel Concession (LTC) schemes launched
    • Rs 25,000 crore provided as additional capital expenditure (capex) to road and defence ministries
    • Rs 3,621 crore sanctioned to 11 states as interest-free loans towards capex 
    • PM Rozgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY) implemented up to March 31, to incentivize formalisation, creation of jobs
    • Total benefit of Rs 8,300 crore given to 1,52,899 companies covering 1,21,69,960 beneficiaries  
  • TODAY’S ANNOUNCEMENTS (ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT 3.0):
    • 12 areas to be covered
    • Announces Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana, aimed at incentivising creation of employment opportunities during COVID-19 recovery phase
    • Beneficiaries under this new scheme will include: new employees joining employment in EPFO-registered establishments on monthly wages less than Rs 15,000, and EPF members drawing monthly wage of less than Rs 15,000 who exited employment during March-September, and employed on or after October 1 
    • Central government to give subsidy on new employment 
    • Employee and employer contribution of 12% each to be borne by government, for next two years; aimed at easing financial burden on companies for creating jobs
    • 95% of all (organised sector) establishments estimated to be covered under this scheme will have employees up to 1,000
    • ECLG scheme extended till March 2021 (collateral-free, fully guaranteed loan)
    •  
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