Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday announced a series of fresh measures to boost exports and housing sectors, for the revival of sagging economy and to rebound consumer sentiment.

In August, Sitharaman had announced the first set of such measures. This is the next round of such sector specific initiatives.

The highlights of the measures, the Finance Minister announced are:

• Inflation is under control and there is a clear sign of revival of Industrial production.

• The E- assessment Scheme under section 143(3A) of the IT Act , will remove the existence of human interface in the assessment procedure. It would be handled by specific functional units on the basis of automated allocation system.

• Small tax-payers with minor defaults below 25 lakh will not be prosecuted.

• Scheme for Remission of Duties or Taxes on Exports (RoDTEP) will replace Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS). The old scheme will continue only till 31.12.2019.

• Higher insurance cover to banks lending working capital for exports by the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC). This scheme would cost Rs 1700 crore per year to the government.

• The Merchandise exports from India Scheme will transit into the RoDTEP scheme from January 1. Sectors such as textiles which enjoy incentives up to 2 per cent.

• RBI will publish data on export finance regularly and Inter-ministerial group which will be monitoring export finance on weekly basis.

• Setting up of FTA Utilisation Mission headed by a senior officer in Dept of Commerce, to work with FIEO and export houses to utilise concessional tariffs in each FTA.

• There shall be time bound adoption by Industry of all necessary mandatory technical standards. Effective enforcement will elevate quality and performance, enhance competitiveness and address issue of sub-standard imports.

• Annual mega shopping festivals will be organised at four places in India similar to the ones held in Dubai with varied schemes. In March 2020 four themes highlighted would be gem and jewellery sector, handicrafts, tourism, textiles and yoga.

• Under the measures to be taken for Housing sector, a special window of Rs 10,000 crore to be opened to provide last-mile funding for housing projects which are non-NPA and non-NCLT and are net worth positive in affordable and middle income category.

• To boost affordable and middle-income housing focus would be on construction of unfinished units.

• For the government servants to easily buy houses, External Commercial Borrowing guidelines will be relaxed.

The economic growth rate of 5 per cent for the first quarter of the current fiscal has made the government take note, and has announced a slew of economic measures like revival package for the auto industry, the bank mergers, withdrawal of higher surcharge on Foreign portfolio investments (FPIs) and domestic investors, steps for infrastructure and startups.