FM yet to take a call on grant of fiscal stimulus to industry

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 28, 2021

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chairs the 43rd GST Council meeting in New Delhi   -  -

Sitharaman says a decision can be taken only after assessing impact of 2nd Covid wave

The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday made it clear that Centre was yet to take a final call on grant of any fiscal stimulus to industry or direct fiscal support to those in bottom of the pyramid to cope with the adverse economic impact of the ongoing second wave of Covid-19.

“The process of consulting States and industry is going on. We have not made any final call on this,” Sitharaman said at the press conference post the 43rd GST Council meeting. She was responding to a question on whether Centre intends to provide any more fiscal support given the perception that its overall fiscal support last year (for the first wave) was perceived to be inadequate when compared to countries abroad, including some in emerging markets.

“Last year, when there was a lockdown, we kept on assessing the impact of Covid on various sectors and we kept announcing (stimulus packages). This time our Union Budget has been announced in February 2021. We are in May. Entire year has to go. Second wave has come. It’s not a complete lockdown and yet States have had lockdowns. So we are getting inputs. We need to take a call and we need to understand where the impact is and how much it is,” Sitharaman said.

‘Increase ECLGS scheme’

Sitharaman’s remarks are significant as it comes just few days after industry urged the government to step up fiscal support to those in the bottom of the pyramid through direct interventions and also broaden the definition of stressed sectors and increase the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) scheme from ₹3- lakh crore to ₹5-lakh crore.

Published on May 28, 2021

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