Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday held a virtual meeting with senior government officials to discuss the infrastructure roadmap ahead. This was the fourth review meeting by the Finance Minister with Ministries/Departments and second in the series of meetings scheduled on the infrastructure roadmap ahead after the presentation of Budget 21-22. During the meeting, Capital Expenditure Plans of Ministries and their CPSEs, status of implementation of budget announcements and measures to expedite infrastructure investment were discussed. The meeting was attended by the Finance Secretary, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises, Secretary, M/o Power and Chairman, Railway Board & CEO as well as CMDs/CEOs of CPSEs of these two Ministries.
While reviewing the capital expenditure performance of the Ministries and their CPSEs, the Finance Minister emphasized that enhanced capex will play a critical role in revitalising the economy post pandemic and encouraged the Ministries to front-load their capital expenditure. Ministries were also requested to aim to achieve more than their capex targets. The Finance Minister said that the Budget for Financial Year 2021-22 provided a capital outlay of Rs.5.54 lakh crore, a sharp increase of 34.5% 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.
The Finance Minister also highlighted that the infrastructure expenditure is not just central government budgetary expenditure on infrastructure and includes infrastructures pending by state governments and the private sector. It also includes government expenditure through extra-budgetary resources. Therefore, Ministries are to actively work on getting projects funded through innovative structuring and financing and provide all support to the private sector for enhancing infrastructure spending, the Finance Minister said, adding that the Ministries also need to explore PPP mode for viable projects. The finance minister also asked the Ministries and their CPSEs to ensure clearance of MSME’s dues at the earliest. The Finance Minister said that she will continue to hold regular review meetings with all Ministries/Departments.