NEW DELHI: Coming festive season government employees will receive interest-free advance of Rs 10,000 each that will help generate demand worth Rs 8,000 crore in the Covid affected economy. Employees will get pre-loaded Rupay Card of the advance value, which they would have to spend by March 31, 2021.
The amount spent would be recoverable in 10 instalments. The bank charges for the issue of card will be borne by the government. With a view to boost consumer demand and revive the economy which has been subdued amid the pandemic, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced a slew of measures to stimulate expenditure by the public.
As per the minister, the scheme would ensure digital mode of payment, resulting in tax revenue and encouraging honest businesses. But unlike the LTC scheme, consumers would be free to spend the amount on items of their choice irrespective of GST applicability. Festival advance along with other similar advances were abolished on the recommendations of 7th Pay Commission. Prior to this, non-gazetted central government employees used to get Rs 4,500 as festival advance.
With the latest proposal, the festival advance to government employees (both gazetted and non-gazetted) will be for festivals up to March 31, 2021. The Centre, is likely to disburse Rs 4,000 crore towards the advances.
If implemented by all state governments too, another Rs 8,000 crore is likely to be disbursed, with the current assumption that 50 per cent states would adopt the scheme and the states’ expenditure estimate would be at Rs 4,000 crore. This scheme would not result in any permanent increase in government expenditure and as it advances will be recovered.
The move is likely to generate additional consumer demand of Rs 8,000 crore.