To raise spending, Centre announces travel voucher, festival scheme for Govt employees
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (File Photo: ANI)
New Delhi: The government on Monday announced a one-time Rs 10,000 interest-free festival advance to all its officers and employees as part of plans to increase consumer spending to spur demand in the economy. At a press conference, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said festival advance was discontinued from 6th Pay Commission for central government employees.
But as a one-time measure, an interest-free advance will be given to all officers and employees of the central government, she said. This Rs 10,000 advance will come as a pre-paid rupay card, which can be availed and spent by March 31, 2021.
Under LTC Cash Voucher Scheme, government employees can opt to receive cash amounting to leave encashment and 3 times ticket fare to purchase items that attract GST of at least 12 per cent.
The repayment will be in 10 installments, she said adding that Rs 4,000 crore is likely to be spent on this.
Sitharaman also announced a Rs 12,000 crore interest-free 50-year loan to states for spending on capital projects in a bid to boost economy. She said of the Rs 12,000 crore, Rs 1,600 crore will be given to north-eastern states and Rs 900 crore will be for Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
She said Rs 7,500 crore will be for the remaining states. Rs 2,000 crore will be given to states that fulfill pre-stated reforms. The loan will have to be spent entirely on new or ongoing capital projects, she said adding that states can settle bills of contractors and suppliers but all the amount has to be paid before March 31, 2021.
The loan is over and above borrowing ceilings of the states and the repayment will be one bullet payment after 50 years, she added. The Finance Minister also announced additional capital expenditure of Rs 25,000 crore by the central government. This will be in addition to Rs 4.13 lakh crore budgeted, she said, adding that the additional money will be for spending on roads, defence infrastructure, water supply and urban development.