Sitharaman announces measures to boost Export, Housing sectors

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NewDelhi :  With a view to revive the economy, the Finance Ministry on Saturday announced several measures to boost the exports and housing sector.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a new scheme – Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Product, RoDTEP to incentivise exporters at an estimated cost of 50,000 crore rupees to the exchequer.

India’s exports has plunged by 6% to USD 26 billion in August from USD 27.8 billion in August 2018.

Addressing media in New Delhi, the Minister said there will be a fully automated electronic refund route for input tax credits in GST. This will be implemented by the month-end. The move, she added, is aimed at quick and automated refunds of Input Tax Credit, ITC. She said RoDTEP will replace the existing incentive schemes and will more than adequately incentivise exporters than the existing schemes put together.

The Minister also announced revised Priority Sector Lending, PSL norms for exporters, which will release additional funding of 36,000 crore rupees to 68,000 crores to them. She said PSL norms for export credit have been examined and enabling guidelines are under consideration of the RBI.

The Minister said export finance will be actively monitored by an inter-ministerial working group in the Department of Commerce. The minister said Export Credit Guarantee Corp, EGC will expand the scope of export credit insurance scheme and the incentive will cost 1,700 crore rupees per annum.

She also announced that Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Utilisation Mission would be set to help exporters optimally utilise the concessional tariffs under trade pacts which India has signed with several countries.

Besides, annual mega shopping festivals like Dubai Shopping Festivals will be organised in the country at four places focusing on sectors like handicraft, yoga, tourism, textiles and leather.

The Finance Minister announced a 10,000 crore rupees special window to provide last-mile funding for the completion of ongoing housing projects which are not NPAs or facing bankruptcy proceedings under NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal).

The government will contribute 10,000 crore rupees for the special window and roughly the same amount is expected from outside investors. The Minister added that this window will help in completion of affordable and middle-income housing projects and the fund will be managed by professionals.

The FM also announced that the interest rate on housing building advance will be lowered. External Commercial Borrowing, ECB, guidelines will also be relaxed to help housing developers obtain overseas funds.

ECB guidelines will be relaxed to facilitate the financing of homebuyers who are eligible under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, in consultation with the RBI. The Minister said the objective is to focus on the construction of unfinished units.

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