The forthcoming Budget will be a vibrant one that will ensure economy’s sustainable growth, according to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. She also said that the disinvestment process will gather momentum.
“We shall definitely sustain the momentum of public spending in infrastructure as that is one way by which we assure that the multipliers will work and the economy’s revival will be sustainable. I am conscious that the forthcoming Budget will have a vibrancy that is required for sustainable revival,” Sitharaman said in her address to Assocham Foundation Week on Tuesday.
On disinvestment, she said: “The pace of disinvestment will now gain a lot of momentum. Those which have already got Cabinet approval will be taken up with all earnestness.” This year, the government has set a target of ₹2.10 lakh crore through disinvestment, which includes stake sale in LIC and IDBI.
Sitharaman said the government borrowing was pegged at ₹7-lakh crore in the Budget estimates for 2020-21, but it was later revised upwards to ₹12-lakh crore. As of November 20, to ensure that expenditure does not suffer, the government market borrowing has already touched ₹9.05-lakh crore, which is about 68 per cent more than last year.
“So, recognising that this is an unusual year, our borrowings have been kept at a level so that we can quickly put the money back in projects, in capital expenditure and so on, so that the money goes to the ground. This emphasis that the public infrastructure spending have to be kept up has been fully recognised,” she added.
The Minister said the emphasis on public expenditure for infrastructure through CPSEs will definitely be kept up and the National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF) is doing its best to attract funds from abroad. Also, the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) is being given priority, she added.
The Finance Minister hoped the economy will quickly improve. “I concede that there are many difficulties even now, but I am sure with this kind of to and fro sharing of inputs, all of us together can see better days and also vaccine is likely to come, we can be lot more confident that this pandemic will be behind us and we shall surge forward as an economy,” she said.
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