Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0: Govt gives Diwali gift, announces fresh stimulus package

India unveils Rs 1.46-trn incentive program to lure global manufacturers

India offers 20% wage subsidy to counter coronavirus job losses

The measures, that also include additional fertiliser subsidy and already announced production-linked incentive scheme for manufacturing units, totalled Rs 2.65 lakh crore, taking the cumulative stimulus package announced since the lockdown to nearly Rs 30 lakh crore, or 15 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

She further announced that three lakh crore rupees existing emergency credit line guarantee scheme announced as part of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan for the MSME sector has been extended till 31st March of next year.

With the number of Covid cases declining nationwide, Sitharaman declared a "distinct recovery" now is under way, pointing to rises in goods and services tax revenues and energy consumption and she said there was good pent-up demand. Tenor of additional credit under ECLGS 2.0 to be 5 years, including 1 year of moratorium on principal repayment.

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Sitharaman said the Government will provide Rs 65,000 crore of additional subsidy on fertiliser to ensure the crop nutrient is available to farmers during the current season. The Congress said the announcements were not enough for a recession-hit economy. "A total amount of almost Rs 1.5 lakh crore has been earmarked across sectors, for the next five years", Sitharaman said.

Doubling down on the previously announced measures, she said income tax law will be relaxed to allow primary or first sale of housing units of up to Rs 2 crore at a price that can be 20 per cent below the stamp duty circle rate. In Budget 2020-21, the government had provided Rs 61,000 crore for MNREGA and an extra Rs 40,000 crore in the first AtmaNirbhar package.

Listing out the other key measures, she said, more than one lakh 18 thousand crore rupees worth of loans have been sanctioned to 17 States and Union Territories to increase the liquidity in the Discom sector. IT refunds have gone in a big way to people; 1.32 lakh crore refunds given.

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"In a significant demand booster for the residential real estate sector, the govt has decided to make amendments in the Income Tax Act to help home-buyers as well as developers", said Sitharaman. She said that Rs 73,504 crore has already been spent from the current outlay of Rs 1 lakh crore.

- Consequential relief upto 20 percent shall be allowed to buyers of these units under section 56 (2) x of the IT Act for the said period. "The measure will reduce the hardships faced by both homebuyers and developers and help in clearing the unsold inventory", she added.

PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Sanjay Aggarwal said the reforms will have a multiplier effect on the economic growth trajectory through enhanced demand, job creation, increased private investments, escalated exports and growth of sectors that have strong backward and forward linkages. The rate of interest charged by banks will not exceed 9.25 per cent.

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The Indian economy has recovered from its worst-ever contraction of 24 per cent in the April-June quarter but will end up shrinking by close to 10 per cent in the fiscal year to March 2021, as per forecasts.

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