Cabinet approves Rs 6.29-lakh crore COVID-19 relief package announced by Finance Minister

By PTI
NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Rs 6.29-lakh crore relief package announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to support the pandemic-hit economy. This was informed by Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar after the Cabinet meeting.

As part of the package to support the COVID-19 pandemic-hit economy, Sitharaman had on Monday announced Rs 1.5 lakh crore of additional credit for small and medium businesses, more funds for the healthcare sector, loans to tourism agencies and guides, and waiver of visa fee for foreign tourists.

Together with previously announced Rs 93,869-crore spending on providing free foodgrains to the poor till November and additional Rs 14,775 crore fertiliser subsidy, the stimulus package, which is mostly made up of government guarantee to banks and microfinance institutions for loans they extend to COVID-19-hit sectors, totalled up to Rs 6.29 lakh crore.

The finance minister provided Rs 23,220 crore of additional funding to set up children and paediatric care at hospitals to prepare healthcare infrastructure to deal with any emergency arising due to COVID-19 wave hitting children.

Further, to incentivise job creation, the government committed to paying the employer and employee’s share to provident fund (PF) for all new recruitments done till March 2022. Previously, the government paid Rs 902 crore for 21.42 lakh beneficiaries of 79,577 establishments.

With the tourism sector being hit hard by the pandemic, the minister had announced a financial support to over 11,000 registered tourists, guides, travel and tourism stakeholders, in addition to free one-month tourist visa to first five lakh tourists.

Other announcements included an additional Rs 19,041 crore to provide broadband internet cover to all village panchayats, an extension of tenure of a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for large-scale electronics manufacturing by a year and Rs 88,000 crore of insurance cover for goods exporters.

The central government has announced the support measures as states start lifting restrictions after new coronavirus infections showed a decline.

Two annoucements made by Sitharaman regarding the additional subsidy of Rs 14,775 crore for DAP & P&K fertilizers, and extension of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) – free food grains from May to November 2021, were previously approved by the Cabinet.