Nirmala Sitharaman press meet live | Centre announces Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana for formal sector

Nirmala Sitharaman says government has 12 new schemes in its kitty

A day after announcing a scheme to boost manufacturing sector, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is meeting the press to announce more stimulus.

The government on Wednesday approved a Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for ten key sectors, including telecom, automobiles and pharmaceuticals, taking the total outlay for such incentives to nearly Rs 2 lakh crore over a five-year period.

Here are the live updates:

ANBA 3.0

There are 12 things that we are announcing. You may refer to it as atma nirbhar 3.0, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

She announces Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana to incentivise creation of new employment.

As per the scheme, which comes to effect retrospectively from Oct 1, 2020,  every EPFO-registered establishment, if they take new employees who were to be covered by EPF or those who lost jobs between March 1 and September 30, 2020, will benefit. They will be covered for the next two years.

As per the finance ministry presentation, this benefit will apply to all such ‘new employees’ earning monthly wages less than Rs 15,000.

Establishments registered under the EPFO have to add at least two more employees for firms with less than 50 employees and minimum five employees for firms with over 50 employees. This hiring can happen between October 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, and will be valid for two years, she adds.

Central government will bear the 24% EPF contribution if the number of employees are less than 1000. In case of employees over 1000, 12% employee contribution will be borne by the government for the next two years.

This benefit will get credited upfront in Aadhaar seeded EPF account of eligible new employees

ANBA 2.0

Of the announcements made on October 12 as Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan 2.0 package,  LTC vouchers scheme has been launched, and festive advance scheme unveiled with SBI Utsav cards being distributed.

11 States have been sanctioned Rs 3,621 crore as interest free loan towards capital expenditure. This doesn’t include Rs 450 crore for Bihar that was going through elections at the time.

Rs 25,000 crore has been sanctioned for additional capital expenditure to the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Emergency Credit Liquidity Guarantee scheme

The Rs 3 lakh crore Emergency Credit Liquidity Guarantee scheme, of which Rs 2.05 lakh crore has been sanctioned to about 61 lakh borrowers that included MSMEs, professionals and others. Rs 1.52 lakh crore has been disbursed.

We had also announced a partial credit guarantee scheme through public sector banks. They have bought portfolios worth Rs 26,889 crore.

Rs 7,227 crore has been disbursed to housing finance companies and non-banking finance companies under a special liquidity scheme.

Rs 31,136 crore has been disbursed to 11 States to infuse liquidity in State discoms.

Total loans of Rs 1,18,273 crore have been sanctioned to 17 States and UTs as part of the liquidity injection scheme for Power discoms.

ANBA 1.0

Nirmala Sitharaman highlights some of the previous announcements she made under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan or Self Reliant India. "I call them ANBA 1.0 and ANBA 2.0,"  she says.

I am now giving you the progress on ANBA 1.0 that directly affect the poor. The One Nation One Ration card – interstate portability has been achieved in 28 States and union territories.

As many as 68.6 crore beneficiaries are now lifting their foodgrains from any stores of their choice in any of those 28 States and UTs, from September 1. About 1.5 crore monthly transactions are happening using these [ration cards]. This was a progressive step to boost food security.

Under the PM Street Vendors Scheme, 13.78 lakh loans cleared worth Rs 1373.33 crore cleared to various states and UTs, she says.

Credit boost has been achieved for 2.5 crore farmers through the Kisan Credit card. Total amount sanctioned and disbursed in two phases was Rs 1,43, 262 crore. So farmers were covered for their immediate agricultural activity based requirements.

‘Correction is happening in the positive direction for India’

Many economists have been writing and noticing that this growth is being energised by the unrelenting reform pitch by the government.

Moody’s today has come out with numbers for the Indian economy from an earlier 9.6% negative growth, which they have now reassessed to 8.9% negative growth.

Even these assessments by agencies indicate that a correction is happening in the positive direction for India.

‘We could be back in positive terrain in Q3 itself’

GST collections had touched Rs. 1.05 lakh crore, up 10% year on year, says the Finance Minister.

Bank credit growth improved 5.1% as on October 23, 2020. Markets are on a record high. Net investments and FDI are positive, and the foreign exchange reserves are like never before at $560 billion.

The RBI’s latest monthly report predicts a strong return to proper growth of the Indian economy, and there could be strong growth in Q3 itself that could bring us to positive terrain.

The expectation earlier was that growth would be seen in fourth quarter, but the RBI feels it could happen as early as Q3.

I would like to announce a few new measures that you may call the next step in the series of stimulus announcements that we have been making, says Ms. Sitharaman.

Active cases of COVID have declined from 10 lakh to 4.89 lakh and the case fatality rate has come down to 1.47%, she points out.

The economy – you are aware in the last 15 days, quite a few measures and indicators that show a recovery is clearly happening. It is just not pent-up demand but also a strong pitch for recovery.

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