Nirmala Sitharaman asks civil aviation ministry, Dept of Telecom to fast-track project implementation

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October 25, 2021 10:24 PM

The minister exhorted officials to oversee implementation of projects besides monitoring release of funds, an official statement said.

Nirmala SitharamanStressing that infrastructure projects are a priority for the government, Sitharaman said necessary funds will be made available for capital expenditure

Aiming to support the economic recovery, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday reviewed the progress of capital expenditure by the civil aviation ministry and the telecom department and asked them to ensure that project implementation is fast-tracked. The minister exhorted officials to oversee implementation of projects besides monitoring release of funds, an official statement said.

Stressing that infrastructure projects are a priority for the government, she said necessary funds will be made available for capital expenditure (capex). She directed officials in the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) to work in close coordination with the Ministry of Civil Aviation to ensure that more projects are initiated and capex spending in FY’23 is substantially increased than the present target. Sitharaman asked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to push its CPSE capex, fast-track asset monetisation, and work in close coordination with DIPAM to finalise the process of monetisation at the earliest, ensuring expeditious implementation of digital expansion plans in entire North-East region on priority.

She further said the ministries must pool in all efforts to ensure higher capital spending in the coming months to achieve higher economic growth. Sitharaman enjoined the secretaries concerned to push expenditure on infrastructure projects in the current financial year as well as plan for the next fiscal, the statement added. She underlined that the infrastructure spending includes not only the central government budgetary expenditure on infrastructure, but also spending by state governments and the private sector.

Therefore, the private capex on infrastructure, and those under public-private partnership (PPP) should also be tracked to capture the entire infra progress in the country. During the meeting, capex status of Q1 and Q2, front-loading of capex, estimated targets of capital spending by ministries and their Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) in the upcoming quarters and expenditure incurred for implementation of the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) projects were discussed. Estimation of funds to be raised by asset monetisation, projects undertaken through PPP and convergence under National Master Plan (Gati Shakti) were also deliberated upon. The review meeting was attended by the secretaries of economic affairs, civil aviation and telecom, apart from other senior officials.

“Today’s meeting is the first of series of review meetings by the Finance Minister on CAPEX with various infrastructure Ministries/ Departments and in continuation of the previous round of meetings held in June, 2021,” it said. Union Budget for 2021-22 has provided a capital outlay of Rs 5.54 lakh crore, an increase of 34.5 per cent over the Budget Estimate of 2020-21.

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