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FM asserts resurgent economy will make govt go forward with more confidence

Speaking at a private news channel’s awards event in Mumbai yesterday, Ms Sitharaman said that the Centre has loosened its purse strings as much as it can on fiscal deficit worries and also willing to consider further requirements.

The Minister stated that she is not expecting a shock on the growth on either side and suggested that a rise in the number is a sign of economy doing well.

The Finance Minister added that the government is mulling creating a Development Finance Institution (DFI) to help fund the  102-lakh crore rupee infrastructure funding, but hinted at a larger reliance on the private sector in doing so.

To a question on the ways of driving of consumption, where there was a fall in growth numbers, the finance Minister said, there are multiple policies including the corporate tax cuts, personal tax cuts and direct benefit transfers. She also stressed that the government is also pushing banks to lend more to all categories like retail, agriculture, vehicle, home and so on.

Acknowledging that credit growth is yet to pick up, the Minister made it clear that banks cannot be wild in writing loans and were specifically asked to avoid the mistakes of 2008-09, when excess lending to pump-prime the economy resulted in issues of NPAs.

On the Corona virus scare, Ms Sitharaman said, there is no need to immediately press the panic button at present, but added that industry executives have warned her about challenges cropping up if the crisis continues for three weeks.

On the Goods and Services Tax, she said that the focus is on making the network more efficient so that difficulties in compliance are done away with.

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