stimulus package: Cabinet clears Covid relief stimulus package

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Covid-relief stimulus package announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman two days ago, information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said.

The approved schemes include a Rs 3.03 lakh revamped scheme for the power distribution sector, Rs 1.5 lakh crore additional credit for small and medium businesses, and export insurance cover of Rs 1.22 lakh crore.

They also include more funds for the healthcare sector, loans to tourism agencies and guides, and waiver of visa fees for foreign tourists.

ET Bureau

Under the power distribution scheme state power distribution companies will receive grants each year when they achieve the milestones agreed for the previous fiscal. As per the five-year programme, reforms-based, result-linked scheme for financial assistance to discoms if a utility is found ineligible any year, then the gap in funding to complete its projects will have to be met by the discom or its state government. However, the unmet targets for one year get added to the targets for the next year.

Power and renewable energy minister R K Singh said the five-year scheme aims at zero gaps in revenue of discoms and reduction of commercial losses across India to 12-15%. Singh said this scheme is different from the previous schemes as it imposes conditions before disbursement of grant. The scheme is expected to install 25 crore smart meters, 10,000 feeders and 4 lakh km of low tension overhead lines.

Under the loan guarantee scheme for Covid-affected sectors, Rs 50,000 crore financial guarantee cover will be offered for brownfield expansion and greenfield projects related to health/ medical infrastructure.

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