New Delhi, May 16, 2020: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is unveiling the fourth tranche of Centre’s Rs 20 lakh crore fiscal stimulus which attempts to soften the blow of the coronavirus and the lockdown on the economy.
She is likely to announce relief measures for the infrastructure sector today as she continues to give the finer details of the Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week. The Finance Minister is likely to announce fund infusion for infrastructure lending.
Here are the Highlights of Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcements on Day 4:
We have been announcing in several tranches the various steps we want to take, to extend assistance which as govt we should; and do it in time. We have PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojana, post that we ensured that people don’t have to suffer filing returns etc. Relief announced for MSMEs and so on, but importantly, PM had also said that we should prepare ourselves for tough competition, so that we are strong enough to face global value chain and are also able to integrate. This is not an isolationist approach, this is making India ready and strong to face global challenges.
To be a self-reliant India, we need to toughen against competition. I repeat, by saying Atma Nirbhar Bharat, we are not looking inward or isolating ourselves. Many sectors need policy simplification. We need more transparent processes. Only when we decongest sectors will a boost for growth and employment happen.
Several steps were taken to ensure ease of business. PM Modi has been consistent in making sure reforms are taken up. Some significant reforms already done by PM Modi are - DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer), GST, IBC, Steps for Ease of Doing Business, Infusing equity and reforming Public Sector Banks, Direct Taxation Reforms, Power Sector Reforms, Coal Sector Reforms, and Water and Irrigation Sector Reforms. Structural reforms today’s focus.
Sectors to be impacted: The ones which will be new horizon for growth. See great potential in investments and will lead to lot more job avenues. Important to recall that steps taken earlier have been announced at different times and because of lockdown and COVID-19, it feels like it has been so long since budget, but it was presented only in February. Parliament also had to close due to reasons of social distancing. In February, we announced National Infrastructure fund.
Policy reforms to fast-track investments: In last couple of months, Empowered Group of Secretaries formed, they also look at investments attractiveness of industry. We want to make sure that efforts which are being taken clearly give us the confidence. Make in India was launched to change the mindset of people, today if I look at Make in India for Atma Nirbhar Bharat, the foundation was laid earlier. Rule of law and talent pools make India an attractive destination for producing in India and also for India. Schemes for these sectors.
Upgradation of industrial infrastructure is something which we need to talk about afresh, although industrial infrastructure and land banks have been identified long time back. Using technology, we are making sure that these land parcels are identified, common facilities needed would be ensured.
There are 8 sectors where reforms are being brought in today - coal, minerals, defence production, airports and aerospace management, power sector distribution companies in UTs, space sector, atomic energy sector and civil aviation.
SEZs, industrial parks spread in some 5 lakh hectares, it would be mapped so that investors don’t face problems.
Coal: Bringing in commercial mining in coal sector. Coal is a government monopoly, it is being removed. Commercial mining on revenue-sharing basis will help availability at market prices. Incentives for those who produce before deadline. India has the third largest coal availability in untapped mines, i.e, third-most valuable deposit of coal, and we still import Coal and we still at times feel energy sector is suffering.
Regulations are needed when there is shortage, but India has been abundant in coal but we have been suffocating it. We are conscious that coal is not that environment friendly, providing incentive to turn coal into gas. Coal beds will also be auctioned. Coal bed extraction will also happen through auctioning. 50,000 crore to be spent by government for creating evacuation infrastructure to evacuate mined coal.