The government has in recent months announced several measures to bring the flagging economy back on track. The measures include some important ones such as a cut in the corporate tax rate, funding of stalled real estate projects, and faster GST refund process.

To highlight the impact of these measures on the economy, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed a press conference on December 13.On concerns over economic growth, she said, “We are not engaging in any predictions on economic growth, we are here to intervene in the economy when needed”.

On reports of a possible increase in Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates, she said, “The Ministry is yet to have any discussions with the GST Council on the issue. Sitharaman added that all there is, is “speculation churning”.

Here are key takeaways from the press conference:

Chief Economic Adviser –
-Survey unveiled a plan to become $5 trillion economy via higher investments
-Government has focussed on clearing all past dues
-Government has cleared all dues to industry; announced steps to help NBFCs
-FDI has come in at record numbers
-Steps taken include corporate tax cuts to improve risk-return of corporates
-Steps taken include capitalisation of PSU banks, giving last-mile funding to realty projects
-Government is using divestment to enhance efficiency in economy
-Sanctions to NBFCs/HFCs at Rs 4.47 lakh crore to support retail lending
-17 proposals, amounting to Rs 7,657 crore approved under the partial credit guarantee scheme
-Government and PSU dues of up to Rs 61,000 crore cleared in past 2 months
-Government has put in a mechanism to quickly clear PSU dues to ensure liquidity in the economy
-Over 8 lakh repo-linked loans amounting to Rs 70,000 crore sanctioned till November 27
-RBI mandate to banks to link lending rates to external benchmark rate has been implemented
-Transparent one-time settlement system introduced in PSU banks
-Record FDI inflow of $35 billion in H1FY20
-66 percent of budgeted capex of Rs 3.38 lakh crore already undertaken
-Railway & roads mins have undertaken capex of Rs 2.46 lakh crore by December 31
-Rs 25,000 crore fund approved for last-mile financing of stalled realty projects
-Realty fund has found traction from 13 entities like HDFC, SBI, LIC
-Rs 2.2 lakh crore disbursed to corporates; Rs 72,985 crore disbursed to MSMEs
-Rs 60,314 crore of capital infused into PSU banks
-Government has passed a law for a unified regulator for international financial services
-One national market for financial instruments set up by rationalising stamp duty
-Set up an advisory board on bank frauds
-Shares with differential voting rights enabled especially to help start-ups
-Norms governing credit rating agencies tightened
-RBI has allowed dollar-rupee trading in GIFT city since October 4
-KYC for FPIs eased; FPI limit in companies raised from 24 percent to sector limits
-NBFCs allowed to use Aadhaar authenticated bank KYC
-Contribution of ESIC reduced from 6.5 percent to 4 percent; to enable more consumption
-Salaried employees increased by 5 percentage points from 2011-12 to 2017-18
-Urban workers have shifted from self-employed to salaried
-Unorganised sector has fallen from 83 percent to 81 percent from FY12 to FY18

-Percentage of people in remunerative jobs up from 15.2 percent in FY12 to 18.5 percent in FY18

Revenue Secretary – 
-Income tax refunds so far this FY20 at Rs 1.57 lakh crore versus Rs 1.23 lakh crore in FY19
-IGST refunds so far in FY20 at Rs 38,988 crore versus Rs 56,057 crore in FY19
-ITC refunds at Rs 33,395 crore in FY20 versus Rs 36,513 crore in FY19
-Have implemented a completely automated refund process this year
-From April 2020, taxpayers with over Rs 100 crore to generate e-invoice for B2B transactions
-E-way bill will not be needed for e-invoices
-Government’s tax revenue position to be clear in the next few weeks-Will know the impact of the corporate tax cut when Q3 advance taxes come on December 15

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