Broadband service to jobs scheme: Key decisions taken by union cabinet

Cabinet approves relief measures announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on June 28.


Union Cabinet | Nirmala Sitharaman

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the relief measures that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced earlier this week. The measures announced by the FM included loan guarantee schemes for businesses and small borrowers, as well as for infrastructure projects in Covid affected sectors, including health infrastructure.

Below are some of the key announcements from the Cabinet briefing today.

Loan guarantee scheme for Covid-affected sectors

The scheme will enable funding to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore for to provide financial guarantee cover for brownfield expansion and greenfield projects related to health/ medical infrastructure.

The Cabinet has also approved the introduction of a scheme for other sectors/lenders, including those allied to better healthcare. Detailed modalities would be finalised soon.

Funding for BharatNet in 16 states

The Cabinet has approved the public-private partnership (PPP) model for the rollout of BharatNet project for broadband services in villages in 16 states with viability gap funding of Rs 19,041 crore, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

According to PTI, the Minister said the total expense will be Rs 29,430 crore to cover around 3,60,000 villages in the 16 states, which includes Rs 19,041 crore to be spent by the government for the viability gap funding.

Prasad said the decision to involve private players was taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on August 15, 2020 that around 6 lakh villages in the country will be connected with broadband in 1,000 days.

Revamped distribution sector scheme

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a five-year-long reform-based result-linked power distribution scheme worth Rs 3.03 trillion. The scheme seeks to improve the operational efficiencies & financial sustainability of all DISCOMs/ Power Departments excluding Private Sector DISCOMs by providing conditional financial assistance for strengthening of supply infrastructure, reported ANI.

The scheme was first announced in the Union Budget last year.

“We have done a lot for power distribution reforms. It needs to be strengthened.

Today, the Cabinet has approved the new scheme worth Rs 3.03 lakh crore, including Rs 97,000 crore central outlay,” said Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister RK Singh.

The scheme envisages 250 million smart meters, 10,000 feeders, 400,000 km of low-tension overhead lines planned under the ongoing works under central government schemes.

Export insurance

The Union Cabinet approved the Rs 1.22 lakh crore export insurance coverage scheme. This week, the FM announced a Rs 33,000 crore boost for project exports through the National Export Insurance Account (NEIA) on June 28. She also announced Rs 88,000 crore of additional export insurance coverage for the trade sector. Both the fund infusions have been allocated from FY21 to FY26.

Deadline extension for jobs scheme

The Cabinet approved the extension of the last date of registration under ABRY from June 30, 2021, to March 31, 2022. The government said that with the extension, it is expected that 71.8 lakh employment will be generated in the formal sector as against the earlier projection of 58.5 lakh. As on 18.06.2021, benefit amounting to Rs.902 crore has been given to 21.42 Lakh beneficiaries through 79,577 establishments under ABRY.

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