Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman here today announced a slew of measures to provide relief to diverse sectors affected by the 2nd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measures announced also aim to prepare the health systems for emergency response and provide the impetus for growth and employment.

A total of 17 measures amounting to ₹6,28,993 crore were announced. Eight out of 17 schemes announced here today aim at providing economic relief to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The special focus is on health and reviving travel, tourism sectors.

Scheme for Tourists Guides/Travel Agencies

The scheme aims at providing relief to people working in the tourism sector. Under the new Loan Guarantee Scheme for COVID-affected sectors, working capital/personal loans will be provided to people in the tourism sector to discharge liabilities and restart businesses impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scheme will cover 10,700 Regional Level Tourist Guides recognized by the Ministry of Tourism and Tourist Guides recognized by the State Governments, and about 1,000 Travel and Tourism Stakeholders (TTS) recognized by the Ministry of Tourism.

TTS’s will be eligible to get a loan up to Rs. 10 lakh each while tourist guides can avail of loans up to Rs 1 lakh each. There will be no processing charges, waiver of foreclosure/prepayment charges, and no requirement of additional collateral. Scheme to be administered by the Ministry of Tourism through NCGTC.

Free One Month Tourist Visa to 5 Lakh Tourists

This is another scheme aimed at boosting the tourism sector. It envisages that once Visa issuance is restarted, the first 5 lakh Tourists Visas will be issued visa-free of charge to visit India. However, the benefit will be available only once per tourist.

The facility will be applicable till 31st March 2022 or till 5 lakh visas are issued, whichever is earlier. The total financial implications of the scheme to the government will be  ₹100 crores.

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