Steps taken by govt helped keep economy afloat in difficult times: Nirmala Sitharaman

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NEW DELHI: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said the steps taken by the government like implementation of GST, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and reduction in corporate tax, helped keep the Indian economy afloat in the difficult times of Covid-19 pandemic.

Addressing the launch of the Iconic Day celebrations of the Department of Economic Affairs with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) under the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM), Sitharaman said India’s economic fundamentals are once again sound because of the many steps taken by the government since 2014.

She said major reform measures were taken by the government before the pandemic hit the country. The measures include reducing corporate tax, ensuring that the economy is greatly digitised and bringing in the GST and IBC. “All of this heavy lifting prepared us for the unprecedented situation of the pandemic,” she said.

Sitharaman emphasized that when government looks at the targeted approach of providing assistance and takes the input from the ground and does so quickly, in time and in an open fashion, the impact is for all to see. In this context, she cited a study on Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) which brought out that the probability of people cutting down consumption utilities has come down by 75 per cent across the country.

The study has also shown that the PMGKY reduced the probability of borrowing money by 67 per cent of all respondents.

Citing another study on the Emergency Credit Liquidity Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS), the Finance Minister stated that as of March 2022, loans sanctioned under this scheme have crossed Rs 3.19 lakh crore and the scope of ECLGS has now been extended till 2023. The study says that this hand-holding has kept many people afloat during the Pandemic.

The third study highlighted by the Finance Minister was on the Ayushman Bharat scheme wherein the implementation has been associated with a 21 per cent decline in out-of-pocket health expenditure and 8 per cent reduction in the tendency to borrow for emergency health purposes.

The Finance Minister underlined that the Department of Economic Affairs has channelised external aid towards every region of the country, with the support of multiple multilateral institutions. India smartly raised funds and distributed them not only for infrastructure building, but also for livelihood prospects in each region.

Sitharaman also appreciated the DEA’s efforts through the IDEAS project that spans so many countries and makes a difference to livelihood environment, especially for most of Africa and also the Island countries. (ANI)

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