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₹10,000 festive advance scheme: Govt to give pre-loaded RuPay cards

In a move to boot consumer demand in the economy during the festive season, the government on Monday announced a slew of schemes such as payment of cash in lieu of LTC and ₹10,000 festival advance to government employees.
Festival advance along with similar advances were abolished on the recommendation of the 7th pay commission. But to spur consumer demand in an economy hit by coronavirus pandemic, the government decided to restore it as a one-time measure.
“All Central Government employees can now get an interest-free advance of Rs. 10,000, to be spent by 31st March, 2021 on the choice of festival of the employee. The interest-free advance is recoverable from the employee in maximum 10 instalments,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
The employees will get pre-loaded RuPay Card of the advance value. The government will bear bank charges in this regard.
The Finance Ministry also said that the disbursal of advance through RuPay card ensures digital mode of payment, resulting in tax revenue and encouraging honest businesses.
The one-time disbursement of Special Festival Advance Scheme (SFAS) is expected to amount to ₹4,000 crore; and if the SFAS given by all State Governments, another tranche of ₹8,000 crore is expected to be disbursed.
Moreover, the government also announced giving out cash vouchers to central government employees this year in lieu of leave travel concession (LTC) fare which could be spent only on buying non-food GST-rated items.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the employees could buy items that attract 12% or more goods and services tax (GST). These purchases will have to be made in digital mode from GST-registered outlets.
Every four years, central government employees get LTC to any destination to their choice plus one to their hometown.
Since travel is difficult to undertake during the pandemic, the government will pay the entitled fare as cash vouchers which have to be spent by March 31, 2021, she said. Central government payout on cash-in-lieu-for-LTC will be ₹5,675 crore, and another ₹1,900 crore will be payout by central PSUs and public sector banks, the finance minister said.
Sitharaman also announced additional capital spending and ₹12,000 crore, 50-year interest-free loan to states to boost the economy that has been battered by the pandemic and the resulting lockdown. Read from source….