Indian finance and corporate affairs minister Nirmala Sitharaman yesterday announced measures of Rs. 73,000 crore to stimulate consumer spending in the economy to fight the slowdown caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns. The government does not want inflation in future and also put its debt on an unsustainable path, she said.

“Indications are that savings of government and organised sector employees have increased and we want to incentivise such people to boost demand for the benefit of the less fortunate,” Sitharaman said.

The proposals are designed to stimulate spending in a fiscally prudent manner as some of these are for advancing or front-loading of expenditure with offsetting changes later while others are directly linked to increase in the gross domestic product (GDP), according to a ministry press release.

The measures to boost consumer spending include the Leave Travel Concession (LTC) Cash Voucher Scheme and Special Festival Advance Scheme for government employees.

The measures on capital expenditure are an additional budgetary provision of Rs. 25,000 crore for capital expenditure on roads, defence, water supply, urban development and indigenous capital equipment, and special assistance to states, which include Rs. 200 crore each for eight North East states (Rs. 1,600 crore), Rs. 450 crore each for Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh (Rs. 900 crore), and Rs. 7,500 crore for the remaining states.