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First 5 Lakh Tourist Visas To Be Issued Free Of Charge, Says Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced eight new schemes to boost the economy, with a special focus on health and tourism. “Once international travel resumes, the first 5 lakh tourists who come to India will not have to pay visa fees. The scheme applicable till March 31, 2022, or will be closed after the distribution of the first 5 lakh visas. One tourist can avail benefit only once,” she said at a press conference on Monday.

Besides, she announced Rs 10 lakh loan to travel agencies and Rs 1 lakh loan to tourist guides in a bid to boost tourism.

Sitharaman announced a new credit guarantee scheme for loans through microfinance institutions. “We are announcing a totally new scheme,” Sitharaman said as she announced a “credit guarantee scheme to facilitate loans to 25 lakh persons through microfinance institutions.”

 

“The focus is on new lending, and not repayment of old loans,” she also said. All borrowers (including defaulters up to 89 days) are eligible for the scheme. Lending will be up to Rs 1.25 lakh.

Among the other major announcements by the finance minister are a Rs 1.1 lakh crore loan guarantee scheme for the COVID-affected and an additional Rs 1.5 lakh crore under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) that was launched as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat package last year.