Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today unveiled a new scheme, called Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar, and announced incentives to home buyers to rescue the economy out of a historic contraction caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The moves were part of the government's broader Atmanirbhar Bharat series of steps, aimed at fuelling a rebound in the ailing economy, which is headed for its worst annual contraction in four decades. The Finance Minister said the country's economy is seeing a strong recovery taking root.
The Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana will create more jobs, and the income tax relief for first-time home-buyers will boost demand in the residential real estate sector, Ms Sitharaman said in a media briefing.
The employment generation incentives will cover all companies registered under the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on recruitment of eligible new employees.
The scheme will cover those who were never covered under the retirement fund scheme or those who lost their jobs during the March-September period.
The Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar scheme will come into force from October 1 with September as the base month, and will continue till June 30 next year.
Companies with less than 50 employees must recruit at least two new employees, and those with more than 50 employees must hire at least five, to be eligible for the scheme.
For companies with up to 1,000 EPFO-registered employees earning up to Rs 15,000 per month, the central government will cover the 12 per cent contribution each of the employee and the employer for next two years. The move is aimed at easing the financial burden on companies for creating jobs.
The government also declared income tax relief for first-time buyers of houses costing up to Rs 2 crore.
Ms Sitharaman doubled the differential between circle rate (stamp duty value) and agreement value (purchase value) for primary sale of residential houses worth up to Rs 2 crore, from 10 per cent to 20 per cent.
As a result, buyers of these units will get a tax relief of up to 20 per cent under the Income Tax Act, necessary amendments to which will be made in due course, she added. The income tax relief will be available till June 30, 2021.
The tax relief will help the middle class which wants to buy when the housing sector is sitting on inventories, the finance minister stressed.