New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In a bid to spur demand in the economy, the government has announced Travel (LTC) cash voucher and special festival advance schemes for central government employees ahead of the upcoming festive season.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the employees could buy items that attract 12 per cent or more goods and services tax (GST). These purchases will have to be made in digital mode from GST-registered outlets.  Tax concessions for LTC tickets available for employees of state government and private sector too, if they choose to give such facility, these employees too can benefit.

Special Festival Advance scheme to be restored (abolished on recommendation of 7th Pay Commission) for festivals till March 31, 2021.  It includes interest-free advance of Rs10,000 under the Special Festival Advance Scheme to be paid back in 10 installments. The one-time disbursement of Special Festival Advance Scheme is expected to amount to Rs 4,000 crore; if given by all state governments, another Rs 8,000 crores is expected to be disbursed. Employees can spend this on any festival.

Employees will get a pre-loaded Rupay card of the advance value. The government will bear bank charges in this regard. Ensures digital mode of payment, resulting in tax revenue and encouraging honest businesses.

Government also announced Special interest-free 50-year loans to states for capital expenditure for Rs 12,000 crores. Of this special interest free 50-year loans, first part is of Rs 2,500 crore for North East (Rs 1,600 crore), Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh (Rs 900 crore). Of this special interest free 50-year loans, the second part is of Rs 7,500 crore for other states, in proportion to share in Finance Commission devolution.

Posted By: Rakesh Kumar Jha