As the country entered Day 2 of a 21-day lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman may today announce an economic stimulus package, news reports said. The finance minister will address the media at 1 pm today.
The package may be focused on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and daily wage workers besides injecting liquidity in the market. The government has been in consultation with the Reserve bank of India, capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India.
Earlier a report by news agency Reuters, citing sources, said that government may announce a ₹1.5 lakh crore economic package by the end of this week. '
Sitharaman had on Tuesday said that an economic package is in works. On Tuesday she had extended the deadline for filing income tax and GST returns, raised threshold of default that could trigger insolvency of a company and waived charges on cash withdrawals from ATM of other banks.
The last date for filing income tax returns for 2018-19 as well as that for linking PAN with biometric ID Aadhaar has been extended by three months to June 30. The last date for filing GST annual returns for last fiscal, which is due on March 31, has also been extended till the last week of June.
As the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns across cities create large scale economic disruption, Sitharaman announced that the threshold of loan default that could trigger insolvency proceedings has been raised to ₹1 crore from the existing ₹1 lakh now.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in the country has surged to 649, according to the latest data.
Domestic stock markets and the rupee have rallied in anticipation of a stimulus package. The Sensex was up over 1000 points in noon trade, after posting its biggest one-day