New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced a host of economic measures to give a boost to the sagging economy, while maintaining that the slowdown has also affected the economies in the United States, Britain and China.
Addressing a press conference, the FM said India’s growth rate is still higher than many countries. She said the US-China trade war and currency devaluation have brought down the growth trajectory in several countries.
Sitharaman said the government will make further announcements to revive the growth rate in the coming two weeks.
The key announcements:
*Banks to make home, auto loans cheaper. Rate cuts announced by RBI will automatically be passed on to the customers. Banks to also launch Repo Rate linked loans. There will be online tracking system for home and auto loans.
*The Centre to release Rs 70,000 crore upfront for public sector bank recapitalisation.
*The National Housing Bank to get Rs 30,000.
*To give a boost to the auto sector, the government will encourage its departments to replace old vehicles with newer ones. Besides, BS IV cars can be purchased until March 2020 to clear the inventories. Further, BS-IV vehicles can be used till the registration period.
*Higher vehicle registration fee will be deferred till June next year and vehicle depreciation will be increased to 30 per cent.
*Angel tax provisions for start-ups and investors to be withdrawn.
*CSR violation will no longer be considered a criminal offence and will be treated as a civil offence.
*Tax harassment will not be tolerated. All income tax notices will be disposed of within three months.
*The GST system will be streamlined further. All pending GST refunds till now will be paid within a month and future refunds will be paid in 60 days.
Regarding the impact on the biscuit making industry due to GST, the FM said non-branded makers are not under the purview of GST. However, if the States feel that branded units should also be kept out of GST, they can deliberate on the issue at the GST council.
Parle, the country’s largest biscuit maker, had earlier this week said their products have been hit hard by the dual impact of GST and the slowdown in the economy.