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Monday, March 01, 2021

Pre-Budget consultation: FM meets states, UTs to discuss growth, investment, fiscal policy

Sitharaman highlighted the importance of this meeting as a sign of cooperative federalism and indicated the manner in which the Union government was strongly supportive of states/Union Territories (with Legislature) fight against the pandemic.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
Updated: January 19, 2021 3:50:26 am
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chairs a meeting with state and UT Ministers through video conferencing at North Block in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Monday held a pre-Budget consultation meeting with state Finance Ministers, who suggested steps to revive growth and boost revenue collection against the backdrop of Covid-19 crisis. The meeting was held through video conference and attended by Chief Ministers, Deputy Chief Ministers, Finance Ministers, Ministers and senior officers from the states, Union Territories and the Union government, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

Sitharaman highlighted the importance of this meeting as a sign of cooperative federalism and indicated the manner in which the Union government was strongly supportive of states/Union Territories (with Legislature) fight against the pandemic. “Most participants thanked the Union Finance Minister for financially supporting their States/Union Territories during the worst months of pandemic, by enhancing borrowing limits and providing back to back loans to States. The participants also gave numerous suggestions to the Union Finance Minister for inclusion in the budget speech,” the Ministry said.

State ministers are learned to have expressed their views about resources requirements of states, fiscal policy and the ways to boost growth and investment.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal were among those who participated in the meeting. Along with the Finance Minister, Finance Secretary A B Pandey, Expenditure Secretary T V Somanathan, Economic Affairs Secretary Tarun Bajaj, Chief Economic Adviser K V Subramanian and senior officers were also present during the meeting.

Last month, the Finance Minister chaired a series of pre-Budget meetings for Budget 2021-22, from December 14-23. A host of suggestions concerning fiscal policy, taxation and growth among others were received from various stakeholders during the customary pre-budget meetings convened by the finance ministry.

In the upcoming Budget session, the government will also table the 15th Finance Commission’s report in Parliament, along with an explanatory memorandum/action taken report on the recommendations. The report seeks to address a whole range of issues including transfer of funds to local bodies, disaster management grant and performance incentives to states, issues of defence expenditure and the devolution of Central tax revenues to states for the five-year period from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

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