Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday made her announcements related to the last tranche of the Rs 20 lakh crore Aatmanirbhar Bharat package. The highlight today was the Rs 40,000 crore package related to the MGNREGA. Reforms related to 6 other segments were also announced. Giving a detailed account of what the government has done in the last few days, the FM said, “7 segments have been announced, related to MGNREGA, Health, rural and urban, including Education, Business and Covid-19, decriminalisation of Companies Act, ease of doing business, state government and resources related to state government, public sector enterprises.”
The key details announced by FM Nirmala Sitharaman are: MGNREGA
In the budget, there was a provision of Rs 61,000 crore for MGNREGA. Now an additional Rs 40,000 crore has been allocated. A lot of workers have gone back to their villages and this money will ensure that those who wish to enrol in MGNREGA can be provided jobs. As per government sources, it will generate nearly 300 crore person-days in total.
Public health expenditure to be increased by investing in grassroots health institutions and ramping up health and wellness centres in rural and urban area. Public health lab to be set up in every block and every district to bridge inadequacy of lab networks in rural area. In every district hospital, there will be an infectious disease block. Big emphasis on setting up hospitals and labs, with both public and private investment.
Technology will be used in a big way in education. PM’s e-Vidya programme, a multi-mode digital online learning programme to be launched immediately. Each class, from 1 to 12, will have an earmarked TV channel. Top 100 universities will be given permission to start online courses.
BUSINESS and Covid-19 There will be a change in Insolvency and Banking Code (IBC) and the government will bring an ordinance for it. Minimum threshold to initiate insolvency proceeding has been raised to Rs 1 crore from Rs 1 lakh thereby largely insulating MSMEs. Small matters related to technical issues will not be considered a crime. There will be a change in company law. Debts related to Covid-19 shall not be considered under the category of defaults. There will be one policy for public limited companies.
DECRIMINALISATION OF COMPANIES ACT
Seven compoundable offences under the Companies Act dropped and five offences to be dealt under an alternative framework. The amendment will de-clog the criminal court and NCLT.
EASE OF DOING BUSINESS Direct listing of securities by Indian public companies in permissible foreign jurisdictions. Private companies which listed NCDs on stock exchanges not to be regarded as listed companies.
PUBLIC SECTOR ENTERPRISES
Government to announce a new public sector policy–a list of strategic sectors requiring presence of PSEs in public interest will be notified. In strategic sectors, at least 1 enterprise to remain in public sector but private sector to be allowed. In other sectors, PSEs to privatised.
The Centre, like states ,has seen a sharp decline in revenue but despite that devolution of taxes (Rs 46,038 crore) in April was given fully. Revenue deficit grant to states, Rs 12,390 crore given on time in April and May. Advance release of SDRF (Rs 11,092 crore) funds were given in first week of April. Apart from this, Rs 4,crore for direct anti-Covid activities.
The Centre has decided to increase borrowing limit of states from 3% to 5% for FY21. This will give extra resources of Rs 4.28 lakh crore to states. Taking questions, Nirmala Sitharaman hit out at former Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Without taking his name, she said, “What is the point of sitting with migrant labourers? Lift their bags, and ask Congress CMs whether they have provided full facilities to labourers or not.
She went on to add, “I would like to request Congress President Sonia Gandhi to not do politics on this and work with the government.” Defending the government, she said the PM had said that people should remain where they are. “We provided them relief materials and places to stay, I agree that an ideal scenario couldn›t be built. States asked for trains and we immediately said that trains are ready. Why doesn›t the Congress party ask their CMs to ask for more trains? We will provide them whatever they will ask,” she said.