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India unveils new measures to spur domestic demand

Government hopes coronavirus-hit economy will see $10bn boost

A health care worker in protective gear swabs a construction worker for a rapid antigen test at a construction site in Ahmedabad.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced new measures to boost domestic demand by about 730 billion rupees ($9.95 billion) as Asia's third largest economy continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, including extra capital spending on infrastructure projects and festival season schemes for government employees.

The central government will spend an additional 250 billion rupees on roads, defense infrastructure, water supply and urban development projects in the year ending in March, she said at a media briefing, adding that states will also be given interest-free, 50-year loans totaling 120 billion rupees for "new or ongoing capital projects."

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