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Nirmala Sitharaman Press Conference LIVE Updates: Rs 70,000 Crore Boost for Middle Income Housing, Rs 2 Lakh Crore Concessional Credit for Farmers

Sitharaman is addressing her second press conference in two days to share details of the second tranche of the economic package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help revive the economy that has been devastated by coronavirus.

Nirmala Sitharaman says part two of the package will have nine measures related to migrant workers, street vendors, small traders and farmers. Enumerating what Centre has done for migrant labourers so far, Sitharaman says it permitted states to utilise State Disaster Response Funds for setting up shelter for migrants and providing them food and water. The government released its share of Rs 11002 crore funds for SDRF in advance on April 3, she says.

Sources had told News18 that the package Sitharaman announces today may include loan guarantees of Rs 2 lakh crore to farmers, direct bank transfers for street vendors, and is also likely to offer relief to labourers and workers in the unorganised sector.

The package may also include relief for the lakhs of migrant workers affected by the lockdown and declaration of special concession is possible for workers and labourers of unorganised sector.

Although the Prime Minister had pegged the overall package at Rs 20 lakh crore, or 10 per cent of India’s GDP, the finance minister had on Wednesday avoided giving any details as to how the stimulus would be paid for, or even how much actual money would be spent.

Sitharaman had on Wednesday announced the first instalment of the relief package aimed at reviving the economy with 15 measures and extended guaranteed credit for small and medium businesses, non-financial banking companies and power distribution companies (discoms).

Some economists said that although the measures outlined amounted to policy support of Rs 5.9 lakh crore, the fiscal impact on the government’s budget would only be less than Rs 25,000 crore.

The finance minister said the government will provide Rs 3 lakh crore worth of collateral free- automatic loans for businesses, including SMEs, a move that will help 45 lakh businesses. She also said the government will provide Rs 90,000 crore for power distribution companies via state-run power finance companies.

Rs 30,000 crore special liquidity scheme has also been introduced for NBFCs under which investments will be made in both primary and secondary market transactions in investment-grade debt papers of these institutions. These securities will be fully guaranteed by the government.

Industry leaders were broadly supportive of the first trance. “The measures announced by the finance minister are very well-targeted and meet the immediate as well as longer-term requirements,” top industry body the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) said in a statement.

Sitharaman said the next wave of reforms with self-reliance as the guiding principle will focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws. “Essentially, this is to spur growth and to build a self-reliant India. That is why this initiative is called ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’,” she said.

Source : NEWS18

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