New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved several schemes and announced new initiatives to improve the Indian economy that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a joint press conference, Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Anurag Thakur announced that the Centre has given a nod to the PM POSHAN scheme to provide mid-day meals to students of more than 11.2 lakh government and government-aided schools across the country.

The two Union Ministers said that this scheme, which will subsume the existing Midday Meal Scheme, will run for the next five years, adding that the Centre will spend Rs 1.31 lakh crore for it. "The scheme will be run in partnership with State Governments but the major contribution will be of the Central Government," Union Minister Anurag Thakur was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Meanwhile, Piyush Goyal announced that the Centre has also approved the listing of Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) Ltd. through the Initial Public Offer (IPO) on the stock exchange. He said that the ECGC could be listed on the stock exchange by next fiscal year.

"Union Cabinet approves Rs 4,400 crore investment in ECGC Ltd. in 5 years to provide support to exporters as well as banks. The move will help to create 59 lakh new jobs including 2.6 lakh in the formal secto," ANI quoted Goyal as saying.

The two Union Ministers also said that the Centre has approved the continuation of the National Export Insurance Account (NEIA) scheme, adding that over Rs Rs 1,650 crore will be used under it in the next five years. They said that it has also approved the doubling of Nimach-Ratlam and Rajkot-Kanalus railway lines for Rs 1,095.88 crore and Rs 1,080.58 crore respectively.

The annoucements from Goyal and Thakur come a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the Union Council of Ministers wherein presentations were made on focussed implementation and monitoring of various projects.

Sources aware of the development said Union ministers Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Piyush Goyal made the presentations on focussed implementation of projects, policies and government announcements. The presentations were followed by a sort of freewheeling discussion on how the implementation of various projects and government schemes can be further improved and speeded up.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma