India finance minister announces steps to boost consumer demand

India finance minister announces steps to boost consumer demand

NEW DELHI, Oct 12 (Reuters)India’s finance minister on Monday announced steps to stimulate consumer demand including advance payment of a part of the wages of federal government employees for spending during the festival season, part of efforts to bolster the pandemic-hit economy.

The government will also allow its employees to spend travel allowances that are an income-tax-exempt part of their salaries on goods and services, Nirmala Sitharaman told a news briefing.

“This is expected to create a consumer demand of about 280 billion rupees ($3.83 billion),” she said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which imposed a tough lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus in March, is pushing ahead with a full opening to try to boost the economy ahead of the usually high-spending festival season.

($1 = 73.1541 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Aftab Ahmed and Manoj Kumar; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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