Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the fifth and final tranche of measures under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan outlining India’s massive Rs 20 lakh crore economic package on May 17.
Earlier this week, PM Modi in an address to the nation had announced the fiscal stimulus to boost the economy in the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. Following this, the FM has held four press conferences outlining the contours of the package. The measures announced on Sunday include MGNREGA, health and education, business and COVID-19, ce-criminalisation of Companies Act, ease of doing business, public sector enterprise related matters and resources related to states.
Here are highlights from FM Nirmala Sitharaman’s fifth tranche of measures announced:
The government has announced an additional Rs 40,000 crore allocation for rural employment guarantee scheme to help provide jobs to migrant workers returning home. The allocation for MGNREGS is being increased by Rs 40,000 crore over and above the Rs 61,000 cr budgeted earlier.
Health and education
Government will increase expenditure on health to combat future pandemics. "Public expenditure on health will be certainly increased," said Sitharaman. "All districts will have infection disease centres. Public health labs will be set up at block levels," she added. Speaking about education, she said that a programme for multi-mode access to digital or online education to be launched immediately. Also, one earmarked TV channel per class from 1 to 12 (one class, one channel) will be part of this, she said. Top-100 universities will be permitted to automatically start online courses by May 30, 2020, she said.
Business and COVID-19
The government will suspend fresh initiation of insolvency proceedings up to one year and increase the minimum threshold to initiate such proceedings to Rs 1 crore from Rs 1 lakh, Sitharaman said. The move will enhance ease of doing business special insolvency resolution framework for MSMEs under Section 240A of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code will be notified soon, the FM said. Moreover, debt related to COVID-19 will be exempted from IBC proceedings for up to one year, she added.
Public sector enterprises
A new "coherent" public sector enterprises policy will be formulated that will define strategic sectors which will have not more than four PSUs, the FM said. List of strategic sectors requiring presence of public sector undertakings (PSUs) in public interest will be notified. In strategic sectors, at least one enterprise will remain in the public sector but private sector will also be allowed. In other sectors, PSUs will be privatised.
First Published: IST