FM Sitharaman addresses media on economic issues

India’s fight against the pandemic was more difficult as the country was already carrying a burden of a prolonged slowdown.

Nirmala Sitharaman LIVE: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced that government employees can avail cash voucher for LTC if they can’t travel due to pandemic. Employees can use the money to buy items attracting 12 per cent or more GST, increasing consumer demand. However, employees can spend an LTC cash voucher only through digital mode and at places registered under GST before 31 March 2021. FM Sitharaman is addressing media on economic issues, ahead of the GST Council meeting scheduled later this evening. The government also announced that the north-east states will get 50-year interest-free loans of Rs 1,600 crore and Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand will get Rs 900 crore. The amount has to be spent by 31 march 2021. Other states will also get Rs 7,500 crore loans in proportion to their share in Finance Commission evolution. FM Sitharaman added that half of the amount will be disbursed initially and the second part will be disbursed once the previous amount is utilised. Further, the government increased the centre’s capital expenditure budget by Rs 25,000 crore from Rs 4.13 lakh crore for expenditure on the road, water supply, urban development, and defence infrastructure including manufacturing domestic equipment