The Centre has set up a Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman-led Covid-19 economic response task force, which would assess the requirements of various sectors and also oversee implementation of the proposed measures.
CNBC-TV18 has learnt that the government is considering a slew of economic measures to help tide over the crisis. These measures are being worked upon and the task force to meet today (Friday) under the chairmanship of the FM from 3 pm-7 pm.
The task force may look at measures, such as extension of loan tenors for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and relaxing NPA (non-performing assets) norms, while on the taxation part, GST may be waived on hospitality and tourism sectors.
The task force is also considering the direct cash transfer scheme for the most vulnerable. US, Canada and some European countries have taken this route.
For MSMEs a deferred repayment option for their loan EMIs is likely and banks could allow about 90-day deferment. Another way of helping the small and medium enterprises is by enhancing the scope of MSME under a new definition, i.e. is an uptick from current Rs5 crore to Rs 100 crore.
It is also learnt that the bad loan (NPA) classification time period is likely to be increased from the current 90 days to six months.
Other likely measures include a special relief package for poultry and fisheries.
Addressing the nation on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also promised adequate availability of essential items and services, including medicines, healthcare, milk and food. He urged the citizens against panic and hoarding of essential items.
The task force will consult stakeholders and garner feedback, on the basis of which decisions will be taken to meet the economic challenges posed by Covid-19.
The Prime Minister urged the business community and the rich to look after the economic needs of people from the lower-income groups, from whom they receive various services. He urged them not to cut their salaries for days they couldn't render the services due to the inability to come to the workplace.
Welcoming the move, Abheek Barua, Chief Economist, HDFC Bank, said the task force might have to look at further relaxing country's fiscal deficit to provide funds to the affected sectors. The task force faced daunting challenges, he added.