PM holds meetings to firm up second stimulus for reviving lockdown-hit economy | India News

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday held a series of meetings with key cabinet ministers and officials of economic ministries to firm up the second stimulus package to lift the economy reeling under the impact of coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Home minister Amit Shah, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, representatives of economic ministries and senior officials, including those from the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Secretariat, were present at the meetings.
The Prime Minister also had discussions with key economic ministries such as agriculture and farmers’ welfare, and MSME to discuss various issues.
MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari, earlier in the day, said that his ministry has suggested a relief package to the prime minister and the finance minister for the medium, small and micro sector and exuded confidence that an announcement would be made soon.
“Chaired a meeting on strengthening our MSME sector, which plays a pivotal role in economic development. There were extensive discussions on ways to make this sector more vibrant, attractive and ready to embrace new opportunities,” the prime minister said in a tweet after the meeting.
During another meeting with regard to the farm sector, various reforms in agriculture marketing, management of marketable surplus, access of farmers to institutional credit and freeing the agriculture sector of various restrictions with appropriate backing of the statute were discussed.
The focus was on making strategic interventions in the existing marketing eco-system and bringing appropriate reforms in the context of rapid agricultural development, an official statement said.
“Concessional credit flow to strengthen agriculture infrastructure, special Kisan Credit Card saturation drive for PM-Kisan beneficiaries and facilitating inter and intra-state trade of agriculture produce to ensure the fairest return to farmer were some of the important areas covered. Developing e-NAM into a platform of platforms to enable e-commerce was one of the important topics of discussion,” it said.
Discussion also emanated on the possibilities of uniform statutory framework in the country to facilitate new ways for farming which will infuse capital and technology in agrarian economy, it said, adding, the pros and cons of bio-technological developments in crops or enhancement of productivity and reduction in input costs were also deliberated.
Later, the finance ministry also made a detailed presentation to the prime minister on the state of economy and several initiatives that it plans to undertake to stimulate Indian economy.
During the deliberations, each ministry made recommendations and possible steps to be taken in the short run to prop up the sector administered by them.
After a detailed review of each and every sector, a relief and stimulus package will be worked out, sources said.
The prime minister already had meetings with different ministries including civil aviation, labour and power on Friday. He had detailed deliberation with commerce and industry ministry among others on Thursday with focus on attracting both domestic and overseas investment and revival of small businesses in the country so that the recovery process is hastened.
During these meetings both the home minister and the finance minister were present along with the minister-incharge of the ministries concerned.
To mitigate hardships faced by the bottom of the pyramid, the government in late March had announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore stimulus package comprising free foodgrains and cooking gas to poor and cash doles to poor women and elderly.
Sources said the government is thinking of announcing a second dose of relief measures for the vulnerable segment and a stimulus package for the industry shortly.
In his address to the nation on April 13, the prime minister had expressed concern over problems being faced by poor and daily wagers and farmers.
“The government has made every possible effort to help them through Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. Their interests have also been taken care of while making the new guidelines,” he had said.
While announcing the package on March 26, the finance minister had said the government will announce more such package depending on the evolving situation.
To contain the spread of pandemic, the government had first imposed a 21-day nationwide lockdown beginning March 25 and later extended it till May 3. The lockdown shut businesses, stopped air and rail travel and restricted movement of people and goods.
Beginning May 4, the government has decided to ease certain restrictions including opening of industries for green and orange districts which either have nil or lowest number of cases.
The easing of restriction of specified districts is till May 17 with strict vigil by the local administration.

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