Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced eight measures—six of them new— pertaining to growth, exports, health, and employees aimed at ameliorating the distress caused by the second wave of the Covid pandemic as well as gear up to counter the third wave.
The government estimates the package to amount to Rs. 6.29 lakh crore. But this also includes earlier announced schemes such as the extension of the free foodgrain scheme which alone will cost the Exchequer over Rs 93,000 crore.
Sitharaman announced a Rs 1.1 lakh crore loan guarantee scheme for Covid- affected sectors, of which Rs 50,000 crore has been set aside for the health sector.
She announced the enlargement of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) given as part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Package by Rs 1.5 lakh crore from the present corpus of Rs 3 lakh crore.
A new credit guarantee scheme has been launched to give loans to small borrowers, through micro finance institutions (MFIs), where the maximum loan to individuals will be Rs 1.25 lakh at an interest rate 2 per cent below the rate prescribed by the RBI.
For the tourism sector, financial support will be extended to more than 11,000 registered tourist guides and travel & tourism stakeholders (TTS). These TTS will receive up to Rs 10 lakh loan, while licensed tourist guides will get up to Rs 1 lakh loan.
Besides, the government will give 5 lakh free visas to boost tourism. These will be for short term stays up to one month and given once to each foreigner.
Extra corpus will be provided to the National Export Insurance Account to under-write Rs 33,000 crore worth of project exports over five years. For exports, the Finance Minister announced a proposal to infuse equity in Export Credit Guarantee Corp over 5 years to boost export insurance cover by Rs 88,000 crore.