Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently announced that the Indian government will provide free visas to 5 lakh tourists visiting India to revive tourism. The benefit can be availed only once per tourist. The financial implication of the measure will amount to Rs.100 crores. The scheme is applicable till March 31, 2022, or till the issuance of 5 lakh visas, whichever happens first.
Moreover, financial support will be extended to 11,000 registered guides, tourism, and travel stakeholders, battered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The government will also provide loans or working capital to people engaged in the sector to restart businesses. Loans will have a 100% guarantee with a limit of Rs.10 lakhs for travel and tourism stakeholders (TTS) and a lakh for tourist guides. Processing charges and prepayment charges will be waived off.
The finance minister announced a new credit guarantee scheme as well, allowing Micro Finance Institutions to provide loans to 25 lakh people. The interest rate on bank loans will be limited to the MCLR plus 2%. The focus is on new lending rather than debt repayment.
Further, Rs.23,220 crores will be provided for public health, with a focus on emergency preparedness and special emphasis given to children, pediatric beds, and care. The relief measures are a part of a slew of announcements made by the government for the revival of the travel and tourism industry, badly hit by the second wave of Covid-19.
Source: Hindustan Times