Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says government will complete the sale of Air-India and BPCL soon
The government is committed to doing everything that is required to revive the economy, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday as she assured industry about the Centre’s commitment to reforms and urged India Inc to come out in a big way and show its risk-taking abilities. Addressing the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Sitharaman also said the government and the RBI will both push growth and take all necessary steps to keep inflation contained.
“Government’s commitment to recovery is shown in so many different ways and we are going to continue doing that because recovery and its sustainability is something which the PM is very keenly invested in,” said Sitharaman.
Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday urged the industry to come out in a big way to make investment for supporting growth battered by Covid-19 pandemic. Sitharaman said the government has already taken various steps, including bringing down corporate tax rate, and predictable tax regime. “It’s time that the Indian industry comes out in a very big way because today is the time for you to show the risk-taking abilities (and) take decisions to expand…,” she said.
This is the best time for Indian industry to ensure that every body whose investment is coming out of some geography are drawn towards India, she said.
“You stand up for India, you partner with them, and you open up and I can see totally new areas into which Indian industry is moving in. And I would invite all of you to take this opportunity and take the bull by its horns. The stock market is showing you the way please do follow it,” she said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday had asked the domestic industry to enhance its risk-taking appetite as the country’s economic growth showing signs of pick up.
Observing that recovery has helped in enhancing resources, she said, “Revenue buoyancy has today come to a level where we are sure that this year the GST compensation will be paid to all the states in time, so that they have money in time in their hands to undertake all the developmental activities they need to take.”
On fiscal deficit, she said so far the government has played responsibly on that front.
The government has projected a fiscal deficit of 6.8 per cent of the GDP for 2021-22, along with setting a glide path to reduce it to 4.5 per cent by 2025-26.
The finance minister emphasized that she would like to see India moving ahead in the direction of ‘Aatmanirbharta’ or self-sufficiency in a few sectors such as energy.
She encouraged private players to build capacity to help the country become self-reliant in renewable energy in order to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels. “Reliance on renewable energy should be such that we are able to produce locally equipment that is needed to generate renewable energy,” she said.
She said the messages and the indications that are coming in are very clear that the economy is revving to come out. The FM said the financing needs of the growing economy have been successfully met by the over Rs 5 lakh crore of capital, which was put in the hands of various stakeholders through the credit outreach programmes of the government.
Sitharaman also said the economy has not reached a level where the liquidity which was pumped in during the pandemic can be pulled back. “I don’t think we have reached that level and I am glad that RBI has been voicing that understanding that too quick a retrieval or sucking out of the liquidity from the economy may not do the necessary stimulus, which is required. I am glad that RBI has kept that understanding and they have not given any indication about wanting to suck out the liquidity which is available there,” the FM said.
Sitharaman cited the passage of crucial bills in Parliament in the just concluded monsoon session as the government’s commitment to push ahead with reforms. The FM made it clear that the government will push through stake sales in all the companies such as Air India, BPCL this year as well as proceed with the asset monetization plan. “Policy-driven disinvestment and privatization will continue with the same fervor,” said Sitharaman, adding that “necessary rigorous work is going on and the government is committed to the disinvestments announced in the budget.