A special Rs 20,000-crore corpus fund special window to fund construction of unfinished housing units which is expected to help around 3.5 lakh units to boost the sagging housing sector and a Dubai-like international shipping festival to boost exports, according to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
In her media briefing on Saturday, the third in three weeks, she said the focus was on exports and home buyers. The Finance Minister said revival signs were clear in this quarter. There was improvement in fixed investment, foreign investment had gone up and factory production had improved.
Under the special window for affordable and middle income housing category, the Government would put in Rs 10,000 crore and the matching amount would be chipped in by different agencies. Roughly 3.5 lakh units outside NPA and NCLT and needing last line cash for completion could make use of the window. The whole thing would be run by professionals drawn from the banking and housing sectors, she said.
External commercial borrowing (ECB) guidelines would be eased for affordable housing sector. Rates would be lowered for house building and the rate would be linked to 1-yr G-sec yield.
The announcements came when the economy has been struggling in the wake of a slowdown about which she refused to comment. She said that as part of prompting exports which have witnessed a decline, a new Scheme for Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Product (RoDTEP) would replace the old one. Textile and other sectors that currently enjoy incentives up to 2 per cent over the old scheme would transit to the new one from 2020 through which Rs 50,000 crore would be handled.
As part of prompting exports, there would be leveraging of technology to ensure reduce turn-around time at ports and airports. She pointed to the case of Kochi port which had a turnaround of 1.1 days when it was 0.5 in Boston and 0.8 in Shanghai. Physical and manual clearances would be done away by December 2019.
The notification for the e-assessment scheme had already been notified and would be implemented from Vijayadashami. Under this faceless tax assessment, there would be no human interface in tax assessment and notices would be sent online.
A Free Trade Agreement utilisation mission headed by a senior official would look at aspects to draw benefits under the pact, she said.