• Recently, the Ministry of Finance announced a slew of measures to provide relief to diverse sectors affected by the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.
  • It aims to prepare the health systems for emergency response and provide impetus for growth and employment. However it will increase the Fiscal Deficit by 0.6% as per a report of State Bank of India.
  • A total of 17 measures amounting to Rs. 6,28,993 crore were announced in the Economic Relief Package.

Important Points

  • Additional credit of Rs 1.1 lakh crore will flow to the businesses. This includes Rs 50,000 crore for the health sector and Rs 60,000 crore for other sectors, including tourism.
  • The health sector component is aimed at scaling medical infrastructure targeting underserved areas (i.e. non-metropolitan areas).
  • Guarantee Coverage: 50% for expansion & 75% for new projects.
  • For aspirational districts, the guarantee cover of 75% will be available for both new projects and expansion.
  • Maximum loan admissible under the scheme is Rs. 100 crore and guarantee duration is up to 3 years.

Strengthening Public Health:

  • A new scheme for strengthening public health infrastructure and human resources with outlay of Rs. 23,220 crore was also announced.
  • It will focus on short term emergency preparedness with special emphasis on children and paediatric care/paediatric beds.
  • Free one month tourist visa to 5 lakh tourists.
  • Additional Subsidy for DAP & P&K fertilizers.
  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has developed biofortified crop varieties having high nutrients like protein, iron, zinc, vitamin-A.
  • These varieties are tolerant to diseases, insects, pests, drought, salinity, and flooding, early maturing and amenable to mechanical harvesting also developed.
  • 21 such varieties of rice, peas, millet, maize, soyabean, quinoa, buckwheat, winged bean, pigeon pea & sorghum will be dedicated to the nation.
  • A revival package of Rs 77.45 crore will be provided to North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation (NERAMAC).
  • NERAMAC has facilitated registration of 13 Geographical Indicator (GI) crops of North-East.
  • It has prepared a plan to give 10-15% higher price to farmers by-passing middlemen/agents.
  • It also proposes to set up North-Eastern Centre for Organic Cultivation, facilitating equity finance to entrepreneurs.

Significance of the Package

    • It would usher in much-needed liquidity and help revive the employment-intensive sectors such as tourism.
    • It will help save livelihoods and mitigate further closures and also create new job opportunities.
    • It will bolster efforts for any such healthcare challenges in the future.
    • It will enable the Covid-affected Sectors to rise from the challenges they had faced over the past year and a half.
  • The liquidity for small businesses could indirectly revive the fortunes of larger industries they source from and help repair broken supply chains.


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