INDIA. Delhi: India’s Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman today addressed the media and announced various economic relief measures. FM announced Rs 1.1 lakh crore guarantee scheme for coronavirus-affected sectors. Out of the scheme, the health care sector will get Rs 50,000 lakh crore, and other sectors will get Rs 60,000 lakh crore. The travel and tourism industry is the second biggest gainer of the measures announced today. Emergency health system projects, Emergency Credit-Linked Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS), credit guarantee scheme to facilitate loans through microfinance institutions, and others were sectors which gained.
The minister said, “In the wake of the second wave of coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns to prevent the virus spread, the recovery process from the devastating impact of the first wave of COVID-19 has become difficult for many sectors.” The govt. has received representations from the sectors to announce a “substantial” stimulus package to support economic growth hit by the pandemic.
The adverse impact of the pandemic on the travel and tourism sector has been well recognised, with a special outlay of funds for the tourist guides and other stakeholders that shall boost the sector. Waiving the visa fee for the first 5 lakh tourists is expected to prompt fresh tourists in India immediately in the autumn-winter season and give a fillip to this sector and related economic activities.
The scheme will cover:
- Financial support to more than 11,000 Registered Tourist Guides, Travel and Tourism Stakeholders
- Under the new Loan Guarantee Scheme for COVID Affected Sectors, working capital/personal loans will be provided to people in the tourism sector to discharge liabilities and restart businesses impacted due to COVID-19.
Loans will be provided with 100 % guarantee up to the following limits:
- Rs. 10,00,000 for TTS (per agency)
- Rs. 1,00,000 for tourist guides licensed at the Regional or State level
- No processing charges, waiver of foreclosure/prepayment charges. No additional collateral requirement
- Scheme to be administered by the Ministry of Tourism through NCGTC
Free Tourist Visa to 5 Lakh Tourists
- 10.93 million foreign tourists visited India in 2019, spent US $ 30.098 billion on leisure and business
- The average daily stay for a foreign tourist in India is 21 days. The average daily spending of a tourist in India is around $34 (Rs 2400)
- Once Visa issuance is restarted, the first 5 lakh Tourists Visas will be issued free of charge
- The benefit will be available only once per tourist
- The scheme will be applicable till 31 March 2022 or till 5,00,000 visas are issued, whichever is earlier
- Medical tourism to get a boost with Centre’s 5 lakh free tourist visa scheme.
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