The Centre on Monday made several key announcements related to agriculture and businesses, including increase in the minimum support price of 14 crops and two packages to revive micro, small and medium enterprises, which have been severely hit by the coronavirus lockdown.
At a press briefing after the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Centre announced that the minimum support prices of 14 kharif crops will be increased by 50% to 83%, to provide relief to farmers. The government has also extended the repayment date for short-term loans for agriculture and allied activities till August 31.
The government has approved two packages to boost micro, small and medium industries. One of them is a Rs 20,000-crore package for distressed MSMEs and the other is a Rs 50,000-crore equity infusion through Fund of Funds corpus.
The Centre has also approved an increase in the investment limit and turnover of micro, small and medium enterprises. For micro-enterprises, the limit for investment and turnover has been increased to Rs 1 crore and Rs 5 crore, respectively. For small enterprises, the investment and turnover limit has been increased to Rs 10 crore and Rs 50 crore. For medium enterprises, meanwhile, the limit for investment and turnover has been raised to Rs 50 crore and Rs 250 crore, respectively.
Earlier this month, the Centre had announced a Rs 20-lakh-crore economic package to counter the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The government’s economic package consists of five portions, focusing on the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector, alleviating the plight of migrant workers, improving agricultural infrastructure and allied industries, coal mining and defence manufacturing and allocations under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
The nationwide lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus, imposed on March 25, has severely hit India’s economy. India’s Gross Domestic Product growth rate stood at 3.1% for the fourth quarter of 2019-’20, according to data the government released on Friday. In the October to December 2019 quarter, the country’s economic growth stood at 4.7% – a seven-year low. However, the final figures released for the third quarter on Friday showed that India’s GDP grew at 4.1% during October to December last year.
The fifth phase of nationwide restrictions, dubbed ‘Unlock 1’ and starting June 1, will focus on gradually opening up various sectors and rebuilding the economy.