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Overview of AtmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

The Prime Minister Of India, on the 12th of May, 2020, announced a one of a kind benefit package for the populace of India, which is known as the Pradhan Mantri AtmaNirbhar Bharat Yojana. This is an initiative to which the government has committed a figure worth ₹20 Lakh Crores, which happens to be approximately 10% of all of India’s GDP. It was later revealed that the scheme in question will go by the name of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ programme. The main objective of this package is to make India a self-sufficient country that can produce all of the resources it will need for itself, which will consequently empower the labourers, poor and migrants that have faced the brunt of the pandemic and have already had to readjust their lives once again in the wake of the same.

Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, the Finance Minister of India, pulled the curtains off the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan on the aforementioned date. All of the initial details pertaining to what became the very first iteration of the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative was unveiled through a total of five press conferences. Additionally, for every sector that was affected significantly by the pandemic, they had provided a list of special measures. The same was announced while specifying that the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan essentially rests on a total of five pillars. These five pillars are also unofficially known as the pillars of self-reliance.

The Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan's five pillars are as follows:

  • Economy – As far as the economy is concerned, the government, with the help of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, wants to create a business environment which will facilitate what is known as the “quantum jump” in India’s overall GDP.

  • Infrastructure –Yet another objective of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Scheme is the rapid urbanisation of India. By creating a much more favourable environment, the country wants to improve the GDP per capita, which will significantly impact the standard of living of the average Indian in a positive way down the road.

  • System – As a part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Scheme, the government is also expected to replace some of the older policies with newer ones so that new businesses can flourish and the existing ones also find it easy to expand their operations.

  • Demography – It is believed that India’s strength is its diversity in terms of culture as well as demographic groups, which is said to be the source of energy for self-reliant India.

  • Demand – Ultimately, the government is hoping that all of the four pillars above will lead to an increase in demand for products, which will be satisfied by the increased supply of goods and services, thereby locking the economy in a cycle which will cause the aforementioned quantum growth in the overall GDP.

Additionally, ever since the introduction of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, several amendments have been made to the scheme in question, which is something that will be covered later on in the article. But first, let us take a look at a subsection of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan which the government has come up with in order to empower the street vendor brethren of India by offering them a short term credit so that they can meet their working capital needs, among other things. You will find an overview of the Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor's AtmaNirbhar Nidhi Scheme or the PM SVANidhi Scheme for short below. Read on to know more.

PM SVANidhi scheme: An Overview

The Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor's AtmaNirbhar Nidhi scheme has been put into place to ensure the empowering of the localised perishable service providers that set up shop on the streets of India. It plans on doing the same by advancing loans that must go towards their working capital expenses. Through the PM Street Vendor Loan Yojana, the government also intends on performing the function of a catalyst for the holistic development of the street vendors, their overall upliftment in economic terms and the prompt resuming of their business practices. Considering the on-pandemic has practically financially handicapped the street vendor brethren, such a scheme is indeed the need of the hour.

On the topic of loan advancements, it is provided to the street vendors for their working capital needs. Such loans are collateral-free and the principal amount of the same can go up to as high as ₹20,000. As a part of it, the government also intends on providing such loan sanctions to close to 5 million Indian street vendors.

Measures Which Will be Taken Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

There are various measures that have been undertaken by the Indian government under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan for different sectors. Some of those are as follows:

Reforms For MSME(s):

  • The upper limit of the Emergency Credit Line as a part of the ECLGS for Businesses and MSMEs from Banks and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) has been raised to up to 20% of the entire outstanding credit as of 29.2.2020.

  • ₹20,000 Crores have been released by the government so that the MSMEs can consolidate some of their debt.

  • ₹50,000 Crores worth of equity has also been infused in MSMEs through ‘Fund of Funds’. Only those businesses which are doing viable business but need hand-holding due to the pandemic situation will get a grant from the corpus in question.

  • Revision of the MSME definition by revising the upper limits in terms of annual turnover and the sum which has been used to invest in plant machinery and equipment for MSMEs. The new definition of an MSME takes into its definition metrics such as the money spent in establishing the business as well as annual turnover, and it applies to the manufacturing and the service sector as well.

  • In order to shield MSMEs from the competition put up by companies from overseas, global tenders amounting up to ₹200 Crores have been disallowed in government procurement tenders.

Reforms For Fisheries, Food Processing Sectors and Agriculture:

  • A total of ₹1 Lakh Crores has been sanctioned for the same to be added to the Agri Infrastructure Fund to farmers for farm-gate infrastructure.

  • A ₹10,000 Crores scheme has been put in place for the Formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises (Also known as MFE).

  • ₹20,000 Crores will be disbursed to the qualifying fishermen through the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).

  • An Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund has also been set up, which has a corpus value of ₹15,000 Crores. The same has been kept aside to support and promote private investments in the realms of Dairy Processing, Cattle Feed Infrastructure and value addition as well.

  • Herbal Cultivation has also received a push from the government, which has given them an amount of ₹4,000 Crores.

Reforms on Ease of Doing Business and Employment:

  • ₹40,000 Crores have been allotted to the MGNREGS to boost employment rates.

  • The Companies Act of 2013 has also been decriminalised to make the lives of businessmen easier.

  • Permission for the direct listing of their equity shares or bonds by Indian public companies in jurisdictions abroad.

  • Private companies which list Non-convertible debentures on exchanges will not be regarded as listed companies anymore.

  • Including the provisions made under the Producer Companies of the Companies Act of 1956 and the 2013 version of the same.

  • Power has been granted to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal to be able to create additional as well as specialised benches.

  • The Penalties have been lowered for all of the defaults list containing the names of One-person Companies, Producer Companies, Small Companies and Startups.

Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan 2.0

Post the announcement of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, several amendments were rolled out and the updated version of the scheme was christened Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan 2.0. Below are the additional facilities that came to be a part of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan 2.0:

  • Distribution of SBI Utsav Cards to those eligible.

  • 11 States were given a total of ₹3,621 Crores for the purpose of spending on the infrastructure by way of an interest-free loan.

  • Schemes under which LTC vouchers were being given were launched.

  • The Ministry of Road Transport and the Ministry of Defence additionally sanctioned a total of ₹25,000 Crores for the states which would like to get their railway infrastructure reimagined.

Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan 3.0

The Finance Minister of India, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman launched the Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 for boosting the Covid-hit economy along with the Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri. Anurag Thakur on the 12th of November, 2020. Below is the list of amendments that came to the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. Read on to know more.

A total of twelve announcements were made by the Finance Minister of the country under the Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0. These were mainly focused on practices such as job creation and providing tax relief in the housing sector, which became one of the main missions of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. They are as follows:

  • The Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana was launched for the purpose of creating new jobs and opening doors to a life of perhaps becoming a self-employed individual in the future.

  • Launch of The ECLGS 2.0 was launched with the intention of supporting the stressed sectors with a loan repayment tenure of 5 years, which also included the much-talked-about moratorium of 1 year.

  • A total of ₹1.46 Lakhs Crores were kept aside so that they can be disbursed to the qualifying individuals as Atmanirbhar Bharat Manufacturing Production-Linked Incentives. Which are only meant for the top 10 champion sectors.

  • An additional outlay of ₹18,000 Crores was provided for the government-run housing scheme which is going by the name of PMAY-Urban.

  • The security of performance on contracts was reduced to 3% (Down from 5-10%) for the ongoing contracts, which, by nature, are free of disputes and Public Sector Enterprises in order to support infrastructure and construction.

  • Additional tax relief was provided to the people who are just about to purchase a new home for themselves. The same was turned into 20% (Up from 10%) to under section 43CA. However, such a tax benefit can only be availed if the value of the property does not exceed ₹2 Crores.

  • A total of ₹6,000 Crores for Equity infusion in the pre-existing NIIF Debt Platform and a sum of ₹1.10 Lakhs Crores has been sanctioned for the debt financing and thereby getting rid of a significant amount of debt that is going around in the infrastructure sector.

  • The government has also sanctioned ₹65,000 Crores for making subsidised fertilisers available to the 140 million farmers who are in the need of the same.

  • An additional outlay of ₹10,000 Crores has been sanctioned as usable for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rozgar Yojana by the relevant officials.

  • Additionally, a sum of ₹3,000 Crores has been released to EXIM Bank for the purpose of the promotion of export projects through opening up doors to lines of credit under the IDEAS Scheme.

  • ₹10,200 Crores have been dedicated to the Capital and Industrial expenditure.

  • An amount of ₹900 Crores has been provided for the COVID Suraksha Mission. This initiative has been put in place so that the country could fastrack the Research and Development of Indian COVID-19 Vaccines to the Department of Biotechnology.