Retailers Association of India welcomes govt stimulus to boost demand

A shopkeeper wears a mask and sanitizes his hands at Crawford market in Mumbai | Photo: PTI

The Retailers Association of India (RAI) on Monday welcomed government's LTC cash voucher scheme and Rs 10,000 festival advance to government employees to stimulate consumer demand during the festival season.

The move, it said, will help retailers recover from the immense loss of business caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The retailers' body also hoped that the same LTC cash voucher scheme will be introduced for private sector employees as well.

"The Indian retail industry has pinned their hopes on festive shopping to recover from the immense loss of business caused due to the pandemic. The retail fraternity welcomes the announcement by the Union Finance Minister on the schemes for government employees as a stimulus to boost demand in the economy," RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said in a statement.

He further said the leave travel concession (LTC) cash voucher scheme will encourage spending on categories which attract a GST of 12 per cent or more, such as apparels, computers, consumer durables, smartphones, home appliances, furniture and home furnishings, beauty and personal care, among others.

"The Special Festival Advance Scheme will boost festive spending. We hope LTC Cash Voucher Scheme can be introduced for the private sector employees as well to bring about an overall festive cheer and add further impetus to economic recovery," Rajagopalan added.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced payment of cash in lieu of LTC and Rs 10,000 festival advance to government employees to stimulate consumer demand during the festival season and boost the economy.

She said the government will give its employees income-tax-exempt cash vouchers in lieu of their entitled travel allowances this year.

The cash will have to be spent on buying goods that attract 12 per cent or more GST -- a condition which eliminates the possibility of the cash being spent on food items.

Central public sector enterprises and banks will also follow the cue and give cash in place of LTC, as travelling during the pandemic is near to impossible.

Additionally, the government will as a one-time measure give Rs 10,000 salary loan to all its officers and employees as a festival advance.

These two measures are "expected to create a consumer demand of about Rs 28,000 crore", she said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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