Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a slew of initiatives for the economically backward, including two new housing schemes, and credit for small businesses and farmers.
Assuring that the ruling National Democratic Alliance was a friend of the honest, Modi announced the initiatives after praising citizens for bearing with the hardships of demonetisation.
In his 43-minute speech, the Prime Minister also said his government’s focus in 2017 would be to bring the banking system to normal at the earliest.
Here are the top initiatives he announced:
For rural poor
• Home loans in villages up to Rs 2 lakh to get 3% interest exemption, available for building a new house or expanding an old one.
• 33% more homes to be built in rural areas under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
• 30 million Kisan credit cards will be converted into RuPay cards.
• The government will pay interest for 60 days on loans taken by farmers for Rabi farming from district cooperative banks and societies.
• The government will give Nabard Rs 20,000 crore for giving loans to cooperatives at low interest rates.
For the urban poor
• Home loans for the urban poor up to Rs. 9 lakh will get 4% interest subvention, and loans up to Rs. 12 lakh will get 3%.
For small businessmen
• The credit guarantee for micro, small and medium enterprises will be doubled to Rs 2 crore. This will also cover loans from NBFCs.
• Banks told to raise cash credit limit to small businesses from 20% to 25%.
For senior citizen
• 8% interest on deposits of up to Rs 7.5 lakh for senior citizens for 10 years.
To decrease deaths during childbirth
• The government to give pregnant women Rs 6,000, to be transferred into their bank accounts.
• Modi says the government cares about honest tax payers, who stand to benefit. But he also warned tax cheats against strong action. “This government is a friend of the honest and in favour of putting the dishonest in the path of truth.”