Nirmala Sitharaman, the Finance Minister, unveiled eight new programmes to help the economy recover from COVID devastation, with a special focus on health and tourism. The measures include a 1.1 lakh crore loan guarantee programme for COVID affected borrowers and an extra 1.5 lakh crore under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS), which was announced last year as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat package.
In view of the century’s health crisis, the health sector will receive 50,000 crore from the 1.1 lakh crore credit guarantee scheme to expand medical infrastructure, with a special focus on underserved areas. The rate of interest has been set at 7.95 percent. Other industries will receive 60,000 crore at an annual interest rate of no more than 8.25 percent.
- Ms. Sitharaman has promised an additional 15,000 crore in funding for public health. This money will be used to prepare for short-term emergencies and to improve paediatric care. The finance minister has also vowed to help the tourism industry by providing travel companies with a Rs 10 lakh loan and tourist guides with a Rs 1 lakh loan. The first 500,00 people who apply for tourist visas will receive them for free.
- Ms Sitharaman declared, among other things, that the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme, which provides collateral-free loans to MSMEs (or Micro Small and Medium Enterprises), will be expanded. A new initiative would provide up to 1.25 lakh loans at cheaper interest rates to 25 lakh small borrowers.
- The finance minister said that the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana will be extended from June 30, 2021 to March 31, 2022 in an effort to boost employment. Through the Employee Provident Fund Organization, the system incentives firms to create new jobs.
- The finance minister offered an export insurance cover of 88,000 crore for merchandise exports and 33,000 crore for project exports to encourage exports. The funds would be channelized through the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation and the National Export Insurance Account (NEIA) trust.