The Finance Ministry October 12 announced interest-free 50-year loans worth Rs 12,000 crore to states for capital expenditure with an aim to boost economic activities.
As part of the announcements, the government said Rs 2,500 crore will be for all the North East (Rs 1,600 crore), and Rs 900 crore for Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The second part of Rs 7,500 crore will be for other states, in proportion to share in Finance Commission devolution.
"Capital expenditure - money spent on infrastructure and asset creation - has a multiplier effect on the economy, it not only improves current GDP but also future GDP, we want to give a new thrust to capital expenditure of both states and Centre," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a media address.
The government also announced an additional budget of Rs 25,000 crore, which would be provided for capital expenditure of Centre on roads, defence, infrastructure, water supply, urban development and domestically produced capital equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
While announcing the measures, the government said the supply constraints have been eased, but consumer demand is still affected.
"COVID-19 has adversely affected the economy, needs of poor and weak sections of society have been addressed in the government's Aatma Nirbhar Bharat package. Proposals presented today are designed to stimulate demand in a fiscally prudent way. Some proposals for advancing/front-loading of expenditure have been made. Others are directly linked to an increase in GDP," the finance minister said.