Breaking away from tradition, Union minister Anurag Singh Thakur on Thursday first took suggestions and questions at a meeting, and then delivered his speech, assuring city chambers of government measures to put the economy back on track.
The act by the Union minister of state for finance and corporate affairs came as a surprise to several members of the city-based chambers, who attended the pre-budget meet.
"Ministers normally first deliver their speech, then take questions and suggestions. But, Thakur is unique. He first listened to us before delivering his speech," Narayan Jain, a member of the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, said.
This was corroborated by a few others who expressed hope that the Centre would listen to their pleas at a time when the economy is going through a down-turn.
The 44-year-old won accolades earlier this week when a photograph showing the BJP MP travelling on a passenger bus from Himachal Pradesh to Delhi went viral on social media.
During his interaction with the Merchants Chamber of Commerce, Bharat Chamber of Commerce and Calcutta Chamber of Commerce and two other professional association members, he assured them that the government has initiated actions to put the economy back on track.
"The government is taking various steps to increase demand and consumption. We have taken various steps in the past and will continue to do so in the coming days as well.
You wait and see the upcoming Budget. That is why we are here for a consultation process," Thakur said.
Bank credit growth, which has remained subdued due to poor demand, is also likely to start picking up in the coming quarters, he said.
"They are in a position to lend more after recapitalisation... There will be better credit availability and more demand in the coming months," he pointed out.
Highlighting achievements of the Narendra Modi government, Thakur said though there are apprehensions, USD 5 trillion economy by 2025 is achievable.
"This government had achieved its targets in the past and it will do so (in future) with support of all," he said.
The minister said the government will consider the demand for setting up an Appellate bench of the National Company Law Tribunal in the city when a decision on the expansion of such benches is made.
Thakur said the ministry of corporate affairs was considering to de-criminalise over 40 offences related to violations under the Companies Act.
According to reports, the matter is expected to be considered by the Cabinet soon.