Fresh stimulus measures to accelerate economic revival, create jobs: Niti Aayog

Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar says new schemes announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will not only accelerate the revival of the economy but also enable a bolstering of employment opportunities.
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Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar on Monday said the fresh set of stimulus measures announced by the finance minister will not only accelerate the revival of the economy, but also enable a bolstering of employment opportunities.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced Rs 1.5 lakh crore of additional credit for small and medium businesses, more funds for the healthcare sector, loans to tourism agencies and guides, and waiver of visa fee for foreign tourists as part of a fresh package to support the pandemic-hit economy.

"Through a seamless facilitation of credit lines, expansion of emergency funds and more, these new extensive schemes announced by FM @nsitharaman ji will not only accelerate the revival of the economy but also enable a bolstering of employment opportunities," Kumar tweeted.

Together with the previously announced Rs 93,869 crore spending on providing free foodgrains to the poor till November and additional Rs 14,775 crore fertiliser subsidy, the stimulus package -- mostly made up of government guarantee to banks and microfinance institutions for loans they extend to COVID-hit sectors -- totalled Rs 6.29 lakh crore.

She provided Rs 23,220 crore of additional funding for setting up children and paediatric facilities at hospitals to prepare healthcare infrastructure to deal with any emergency.

Representational Image | Credit: Viktor Smith

Incentivising creation of jobs

To incentivise job creation, the government committed to paying the employer's and employee's share to provident fund (PF) for all new recruitments done till March 2022. Previously, the government paid Rs 902 crore for 21.42 lakh beneficiaries of 79,577 establishments.

With the tourism sector being hit hard by the pandemic, she announced up to Rs 10 lakh loan to tourist agencies and Rs 1 lakh loan to tourist guides while waiver of visa fee for the first five lakh foreign tourists visiting India after travel restrictions ease. Tourist visa fee waiver will cost the government Rs 100 crore.

Other announcements included an additional Rs 19,041 crore for providing broadband internet cover to all village panchayats, an extension of tenure of production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for large-scale electronics manufacturing by a year and Rs 88,000 crore of insurance cover for goods exporters.

The support measures were announced as states start lifting restrictions after new coronavirus infections showed a decline. The economy seems to be on a recovery path after being hit by a devastating second wave of infections that was dubbed the world's worst COVID-19 surge.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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