Nirmala Sitharaman announces last tranche of the economic package: Highlights of FM's presser

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the last tranche of the Rs 20 lakh crore worth economic package to support the economy and tacke the coronavirus crisis in the country on Sunday.

Prior to this, Sitharaman has held four press conferences and explained how the economic package was distributed for the people of India.

Earlier, she had addressed the issues of SMEs, tax payers, employees, migrant labourers, farmers, defence, aerospace, etc and announced the packages allocated for each sector.

Sitharaman's announcements came after PM Modi on Tuesday announced the economic package for the country to become 'self-reliant' and deal with COVID-19 crisis.

Sitharaman started the press conference by quoting PM Modi and said, “As a nation today we stand at a very crucial juncture; such a big disaster is a signal for India. It has brought a message and an opportunity”.

On Sunday, Sitharaman announcing the last tranche of the economic package, said that today 7 measures will be announced. This includes MNREGA scheme, Rural and urban health and education, businesses, decriminalization of Companies Act, ease of doing businesses and COVID-19, public sector enterprises-related and state government and resources for state government.

In order to educate people, Sitharaman said, "Online education during COVID19: Swayam Prabha DTH channels was launched to support and reach those who do not have access to the internet and now 12 channels to be added."

Sitharaman said that when these migrant workers go back home, they might face difficulties. And hence allocated an additional Rs 40,000 crore under MNREGA scheme.

Addressing the health issues especially in rural areas, Sitharaman said that hospitals and labs will be set up at block levels. Hospitals will be set for infectious disease so that in the future we can fight against all the diseases even in the rural areas.

Further Sitharaman said that one nation one digital platform for e-content in school, one class, one channel, use of community radio, special e-content for visually and Divyang children will be made available to ramp up online education. Many students and children need psychological support amid these times, she said.

"Technology-driven education to be the focus and PMs eVIDYA programme for multi-mode access to digital/online education will be launched immediately. Top 100 universities will be permitted to automatically start online courses by 30th May 2020," Sitharaman said.

She said that 44% recovery has been achieved since the inception of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

Sitharaman said that debts due to COVID19 will not be included in the category of 'default'.

Further, she said that no fresh IBC cases will be initiated for one year in the wake of coronavirus and special insolvency framework for SMEs has been made.

Sitharaman further said that the government has taken necessary steps for the Decriminalization of Companies Act. She said that seven compoundable offences altogether dropped and five to be now dealt with under an alternative framework. The amendment will de-clog the criminal courts and NCLT, she said.

Addressing the issue of ease of doing businesses, she said "Further key reforms for Ease of Doing Business are in the pipeline including direct listing of securities by Indian public companies in permissible foreign jurisdictions."

She said, "Now, Indian public companies can list their securities directly in foreign jurisdictions. Private companies which list Non-Convertible Debentures on stock exchanges will not be regarded as listed companies."

Additionally, Sitharaman said that "Government will announce a new public sector policy and a list of strategic sectors requiring presence of PSEs in public interest will be notified. In strategic sectors, at least one enterprise to remain in public sector but private sector to be allowed. In other sectors, PSEs will be privatised."

Sitharaman further said the states have seen a sharp decline in the revenue and the Centre has consistently extended help to the states. Revenue Deficit Grants to states of Rs 12,390 crore was given on time in April and May despite Centre's stressed resources. Moreover, devolution of taxes of Rs 46,038 crore in April was given fully.

She said that the States have so far borrowed only 14 percent of the limit which is authorised to them and 86 percent of the limit remains unutilised. "Centre has decided to increase borrowing limits of states from 3 percent to 5 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for 2020-21."

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