FM asks ministries to front-load their capital expenditure

NEW DELHI: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday pitched for front loading of capital expenditure, saying it is critical for revitalising the economy post the coronavirus pandemic.
During a virtual meeting with senior government officials to discuss the infrastructure roadmap ahead, she also asked ministries to aim to achieve more than their capital expenditure (capex) targets.
The Union Budget 2021-22 provided a capital outlay of Rs.5.54 lakh crore, a sharp increase of 34.5 per cent over the Budget Estimate of 2020-21.
However, the efforts from the budgetary side to increase the capex have to be complemented by the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), she said.
During the meeting, capex plans of ministries and their CPSEs, status of implementation of budget announcements and measures to expedite infrastructure investment were discussed.
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, she said, adding that the ministries also need to explore PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode for viable projects.
She also asked the ministries and their CPSEs to ensure clearance of MSME‘s dues at the earliest.
This was the fourth review meeting by the finance minister with ministries and departments and second in the series of meetings scheduled on the infrastructure roadmap ahead after the presentation of Budget 21-22, an official statement said.
The meeting was attended by Finance Secretary, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises. Besides, Secretary Ministry of Power and Chairman, Railway Board & CEO as well as CMDs/CEOs of CPSEs of these two ministries were also present.
Sitharaman also requested the secretaries of the 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 state governments concerned for effective implementation of the same.

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