Stimulus measures support PM vision of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'

New Delhi: Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar on Sunday said that the vision for an 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' laid down by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been duly supported by the announcements and several reforms announced by the finance minister.

In a series of tweets, Kumar said that the decision by the government to increase public expenditure on healthcare and investment in grass-root health institutions like health and wellness centres will help prepare India for any future pandemic.

He also said an additional sum of Rs 40,000 crore allocated by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to MGNREGS will help in creating sustainable livelihood assets, which will give a boost to the rural economy and infrastructure.

Sitharaman, whose previous four parts of the stimulus package involved credit line to small businesses and new fund creations to be shouldered by banks and financial institutions with very little extra budget spending, announced a Rs 40,000 crore hike in allocation for the rural employment guarantee scheme to provide jobs to migrant workers.

She also raised the threshold of insolvency proceedings to help the industry deal with COVID-19 pains.

Sitharaman said the five-part stimulus together with the March 26 announcement of free foodgrain and cooking gas to poor and some cash to vulnerable sections for three months and RBI's Rs 8.01 lakh crore worth of liquidity measures swell the size of the COVID-19 economic package to Rs 20.97 lakh crore.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pledge of total spending of Rs 20 lakh crore (USD 265 billion) to weather the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic under 'Atma-nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan' is about 10 per cent of India's GDP in 2019-20 and ranks behind stimulus provided by Japan, the US, Sweden, Australia and Germany.

In the fifth and final tranche of the economic stimulus package, Sitharaman raised the allocation for the employment guarantee scheme by Rs 40,000 crore over and above the Rs 61,000 crore budgeted for MGNREGS to provide jobs to migrant workers moving back to their states.

This, she said, will help generate nearly 300 crore person-days in total.

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Free Press Journal