Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday exhorted ministries to aim to achieve more than their capital expenditure (capex) targets for this fiscal, highlighting that enhanced spending will play a critical role in revitalising the economy post-pandemic. During a meeting with senior officials to review the status of implementation of Budget announcements and measures to expedite infrastructure investment, she also urged the ministries and their Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) to ensure clearance of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) dues by July 31.
This was the sixth review meeting by the finance minister with ministries and departments on the infrastructure roadmap. Sitharaman further urged the ministries to explore Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode for viable projects, the finance ministry said in a statement.
"While reviewing the capital expenditure performance of the ministries and their CPSEs, the Finance Minister emphasised that enhanced CAPEX will play a critical role in revitalising the economy post-pandemic and encouraged the ministries to front-load their capital expenditure," it said.
Ministries were also requested to aim to achieve more than their capex targets, it added. Union Budget for 2021-22 has provided a capital outlay of Rs 5.54 lakh crore, an increase of 34.5 per cent over the Budget Estimate of 2020-21. However, the efforts from the budgetary side to increase the capital expenditure have to be complemented by the public sector enterprises, she added.
Infrastructure expenditure is not just the central government budgetary expenditure on infrastructure but also includes infrastructure spending by state governments and private sector, the minister said. It also includes government expenditure through extra-budgetary resources.
Therefore, Sitharaman said, ministries are to actively work on getting projects funded through innovative structuring and financing and provide all support to private sector for enhancing infrastructure spending. The finance minister asked the secretaries of ministries to push expenditure on large important projects to ensure that the achievement is commensurate with timelines.
She also asked the ministries to take up regular reviews of sector-specific projects with the concerned state governments for effective implementation of the same.
The meeting was attended by Finance Secretary, Secretary (Economic Affairs), Secretary (Public Enterprises), Secretary (Steel). Secretary (Housing & Urban Affairs), Secretary (Petroleum & Natural Gas) and Secretary (Space) as well as CMDs/CEOs of CPSEs of these ministries and departments.
While reviewing the progress, Sitharaman asked the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to expedite the capital expenditure and make efforts for front-loading it, while the Ministry of Steel was asked to front-load capex and facilitate private investment by providing support and removing bottlenecks.
She asked the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to expedite monetisation of assets during 2021-22. The Department of Space was asked to focus on domestic procurement wherever possible.
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