New Delhi: Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman here today held a virtual meeting with senior government officials to discuss the infrastructure roadmap ahead. This was the 6th review meeting by the Finance Minister with Ministries/Departments on the infrastructure roadmap ahead.
During the meeting, Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) 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 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/Departments.
While reviewing the capital expenditure performance of the Ministries and their CPSEs, 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. Ministries were also requested to aim to achieve more than their CAPEX targets. Smt. Sitharaman 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.
While reviewing the progress, the Finance Minister asked the M/o Housing and Urban Affairs to expedite the capital expenditure and make efforts for front loading it. The M/o Steel was asked to front load capex and facilitate private investment by providing support and removing bottlenecks. The M/o Petroleum and Natural Gas was asked to expedite monetization of assets during FY 2021-22. D/o Space was asked to focus on domestic procurement wherever possible.
Smt. Sitharaman also highlighted that the infrastructure expenditure is not just Central Government budgetary expenditure on infrastructure and includes infrastructure spending by State Governments and 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 private sector for enhancing infrastructure spending.
The Finance Minister also added that the Ministries also need to explore Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode for viable projects. Smt. Sitharaman also asked the Ministries and their CPSEs to ensure clearance of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) dues by 31st July, 2021.
While concluding, the Finance Minister asked the Secretaries of Ministries to push expenditure on large important projects to ensure that the achievement is commensurate with timelines. Smt. Sitharaman also asked the Ministries to take up regular reviews of sector-specific projects with the concerned State Governments for effective implementation of the same.