FM Nirmala Sitharaman
FM Nirmala Sitharaman

In May, when the Centre announced a massive Rs 20 lakh-crore economic stimulus package, it was enthusiastically applauded by the Covid-ravaged country, at the height of the pandemic lockdown.

Attempting to unravel the exact benefits of the historic financial package of Rs 20 lakh-crore, a Pune businessman Prafull Sarda filed a query under RTI.

The ministry informed that under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, an Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme was introduced, which was available till October 31 or till the Rs 3-lakh-crore is sanctioned under ECLGS, whichever was earlier.

"So far, of the sanctioned Rs 3 lakh-crore through the ECLGS, the government has disbursed around 1.20 lakh-crore as loans to various states," Sarda said.

This comes to roughly a loan of Rs 8 per head of the 130-crore Indian population, which will have to be returned at some point in time, he added.

Sarda said from the unprecedented aid package of Rs 20-lakh crore, only Rs 3-lakh crore was sanctioned under the ECLGS, and from that barely Rs 1.20-lakh crore has actually been disbursed among all the states and UTs in the country.

He pointed out that the worst-hit sectors include all industries in the manufacturing sectors, the hospitality and tourism industry, the media and affiliated sectors, and the unorganized sectors.

"Besides over 6 crore MSMEs and SMEs have shut down, resulting in more than 15-crore people losing jobs, against a handful of persons who remain unaffected by the pandemic lockdown," Sarda pointed out.

Referring to the ongoing farmers' agitation, the businessman said it would be prudent "if the government takes urgent measures to release the remaining package funds to help kickstart the economy on top priority".

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