In the Union Budget, the central government has laid the foundation of increasing consumption, while ensuring that its investment is deployed to build infrastructure leading to a $5-trillion economy by 2024-25, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Sunday.
“I think we have laid the foundation for increasing consumption, ensuring that capex (capital expenditure) and government’s investments will go towards spending on building of assets in infrastructure which should have cascading effects both in the short term and in the long term.
“In order to address rural distress, 16 focused action points have been announced in the Budget. So I expect all this will lead to a five trillion dollar economy,” Sitharaman said while speaking to reporters here.
She also pitched for rationalisation of goods and services tax (GST) rates once a year and not every three months as was the trend so far.
Responding to queries on what West Bengal has received from the Union Budget, the Finance Minister said, “I do not know how I answer this question of kisko kya mila (which state gets what). I am looking at the point of macro-economic stability, building assets in the country, money directly going to hands of individuals because of reduced tax rates and so on.”
Earlier in the day, Sitharaman — while interacting with industrialists and businessmen in the state — said the government wants continuous engagement with industries and will act as a facilitator for hassle-free payments of taxes.
“The broad message which is apparent is that the government wants continuous engagement with industry and business. And my presence here is not in response to what is happening inside (country) and outside,” Sitharaman added.
Referring to issues relating to GST, she said it is not just for the Centre to initiate steps for reduction of rates but the state ministers should also represent cases so that a synergy could be built.
Responding to Tea Board Chairman PK Bezbaruah’s remarks on the scarcity of ATMs in the tea belts of Assam and West Bengal, the Finance Minister said, “I know that number of ATMs is minuscule in the tea growing regions. The government is ready to set up such facilities in these areas.”
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