Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman concluded her pre-Budget consultations on Wednesday, having held 15 virtual meetings over nine days with more than 170 invitees representing nine stakeholder groups. They presented her with dozens of suggestions — from focussing on growth and reforms to deepending the bond market and privatising PSUs for adoption in the Budget for FY22 to get the Covid-ravaged economy back on the high-growth path.
Sitharaman’s last meeting was with a second group of economists; the first one with economists was held on Saturday.
Economists are learnt to have asked the government to bolster spending and resort to aggressive divestment and asset monetisation to partly fund the expenditure. They also highlighted the need for continuous and bold reforms, mainly in the factors of production.
Growth should be the prime objective of the Budget for FY22 and the government need not worry much about the fiscal deficit target, they reckon.
Although government consumption expenditure fell 22 per cent on year in the September quarter, there have since been signs of improvement. The Centre’s budget spending rose 9.5 per cent on year in October and budgetary capex was up 130 per cent in the month, at Rs 31,519 crore.
Economic Affairs Secretary Tarun Bajaj last week said government’s capital expenditure went up by as much as 15 per cent, year on year, in November and overall spending rose by 5 per cent. —FE
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