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'Credible signs' of economic growth seen in September: Finance Ministry

Finance Ministry said that the government is open to all possibilities to minimise COVID-19's impact and the Finance Minister is not averse to taking any further measures to ease people's suffering

twitter-logoPTI | October 3, 2020 | Updated 23:03 IST
'Credible signs' of economic growth seen in September: Finance Ministry

It said during the last six months of COVID-19 crisis while pushing the fiscal stimulus and packages to boost recovery process of the economy it has taken every possible measure to address the concerns of all the stakeholders and the citizens and has progressively extended help on both the demand and supply side to bring the economy back on track.

"Earnest efforts made by the government in last few months during coronavirus period have now started showing the green shoots and the month of September has exhibited credible signs of economic growth towards normalcy," the ministry said in a statement. The ministry further said that to minimise COVID-19's impact on the economy and people's livelihood, the government is open to all possibilities and "the Finance Minister is not averse to taking any further measures to ameliorate the suffering of people".

It said with phased relaxation of lockdown, the economy is gaining encouraging momentum. Increased business activities are imparting positive recovery of the economy as is evident in the month of September when the GST collection with Rs 95,480 crore was up by 4 per cent in the month (year-on-year). It said rail freight revenue earnings were up by 13.5 per cent, power consumption up by 4.2 per cent, and rising tractor sales, healthy monsoons and other growth indicators like PMI manufacturing, the index of eight core industries, E-way bills, exports, kharif sowing, cargo traffic and passenger vehicle sales, etc., are showing credible upward movement.

"All this makes the ministry confident that its effort to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 is on the right track towards the faster recovery of the economy to normalcy," the ministry added. The government has effectively implemented two major stimulus packages - the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package(PMGKP) without delay post lockdown on March 16, 2020, and the Aatmnirbhar Bharat Package (ANBP) of Rs 20 lakh crore on May 12, 2020, which was a "judicious mix" of fiscal and monetary policies to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy. The government implemented several measures under these packages which include relief measures for households and cash transfers to senior citizens, widows, disabled, women Jan Dhan Account holders, farmers; insurance coverage for workers in the healthcare sector; and wage increase for MGNREGS workers.

The ministry's relief efforts during COVID-19 provided 42 crores, people, with the direct financial assistance of Rs 68,921 crore. It included almost 8.94 crore beneficiaries under PM KISAN with two instalments of Rs 17,891 crore each. Further, Rs 30,952 crore has been deposited into 20.65 crore women Jan Dhan accounts through DBT. Around 1.82 crore construction workers received financial support amounting to Rs 4,987.18 crore, and 40.59 lakh members of EPFO took online withdrawal benefit of the non-refundable advance amounting to Rs 10,615 crore. Also, 20 crore household are being provided with free pulses at 1 kg/month for eight months and 81 crore beneficiaries are helped with free food grains at 5 kg per beneficiary for 8 months, which constitutes more than 60per cent of India's population. Under MGNERGS total allocation has been raised to Rs 1,01,500 crore for this year by making additional provision of Rs 40,000 crore. Besides, the Ministry has introduced relief measures for MSMEs such as collateral-free lending with 100 per cent credit guarantee, also eased compliance burden of taxpayers by postponing of tax-filing deadlines, reduction in the penalty interest rate for overdue GST filings.

"The Centre has continued to lend unflinching support to State Governments towards faster economic revival, the ministry said. Despite the pandemic and the consequent fall in gross tax revenue, Rs. 2,17,976 crore has been transferred to State Governments as Devolution of Share of Taxes by Government of India in the first five months of FY 2020-21 which is only Rs 37,629 crore lower than the previous year.

Also, the Centre has already raised the borrowing limit of states from 3 per cent to 5 per cent of GDP to cope with pandemic induced requirement of higher expenditure. As per recently announced, the borrowing programme of the Government of India Rs. 4.34 lakh crore for the second half of FY 2020-21 is expected to be completed by January 2021 to help generate sufficient space to manage the borrowing programme of the State Governments smoothly, the ministry added.

Further, Rs 1,25,412 crore collateral-free loan has already been disbursed to more than 25.63 lakh businesses in just four months.

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