Govt taking all steps to boost economy, Union Minister tells ‘NT’

Anurag Singh Thakur

Chennai: “Our mantra, as Prime Minister exhorted, is ‘vocal for local.’ The entire reforms proposals with Atma Nirbhar Bharat package are meant to make India an attractive investment destination and also promote Indian entrepreneurs and enterprises,” says Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Anurag Singh Thakur.

In an e-mail interview with News Today, Thakur details measures being taken by the government to put economy, hit hard by Covid-19 crisis, back on track.

Can you explain the efforts behind the government’s economic package?

Our policies are made through multi-stakeholder consultations, spanning various sectors, spread across India. While the whole country was under lockdown, India’s Covid-19 economic reforms and relief were devised under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Since our announcements, various steps towards implementation have swiftly been taken.

Do you think these measures are enough to bring economy back on track?

If you see India’s economic package as a percent of GDP, we are amongst one of the top nations with large economic packages. At Rs 20.97 lakh crore, it is around 10 per cent of India’s GDP. Countries around the world both, developed and emerging have adopted a mix of measures similar to India. We have undertaken a slew of structural reforms, apart from various stimulus measures taken by the RBI.

There are claims that banks are hesitant to give loans under the package… 

We have been conducting meetings with bank representatives from time to time to resolve issues and ensure end consumers receive the benefits of RBI monetary policy easing.

If banks refuse loans to MSMEs, is there a special grievance redressal mechanism?

As I mentioned earlier, we are regularly in touch with banks. The government and banks are there to support India Inc.

Experts say there is an acute liquidity crunch in the country. What’s your take on the criticism that the government should have given money directly to people to improve liquidity and increase demand?

Direct benefit transfers into the account of intended beneficiaries is cash in the hands of people. Over Rs 20,000 crore was credited to more than 20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders as first instalment. Further, Rs 2,807 crore has been disbursed to about 2.82 crore old age persons, widows and physically-challenged persons in two instalments. Another tranche of Rs 18,000 crore was front loaded towards payment of the first instalment of PM-Kisan to nine crre beneficiaries. The list goes on.

Companies fear that migrant workers who have reached their native place might not come back to work once the lockdown is lifted. Is the government planning anything to address this?

It is up to guest workers, whether they want to work at their host States or, go to their home States. We have provided adequate support for them on both ends.

Atma Nirbhar Bharat on one hand, proposals to attract foreign investments on the other… Will there be a fine balance?

Our mantra, as Prime Minister exhorted is ‘vocal for local.’ The entire reforms proposals are meant to make India an attractive investment destination and also promote Indian entrepreneurs and enterprises.

Are there any plans to attract companies that are reportedly planning to leave China to India?

Why only China? India open to business with the whole world. India is today one of the fast improvers in ease of doing business rankings. Modi government is determined to make India a top investment hub. The world is a global village and India will expand its global footprint.

Layoffs and pay cuts are already being reported in many sectors. Your view…

We are providing companies with affordable working capital loans and regulatory remedies, which should allow most of them to retain their employees. Additionally, we will infuse Rs. 50,000 crores equity through fund of funds into MSMEs. Further, the suspension of Section 7, 9 and 10 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code for a year will benefit the MSMEs and all other businesses.