Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) post-budget meeting, in New Delhi (Photo: PTI)
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) post-budget meeting, in New Delhi (Photo: PTI)

Industry needs to shun hesitation and invest to drive growth: Sitharaman

  • 'I don't think in today's condition it can be just government spending which can pull economy towards growth,' said the FM at a CII event
  • Sitharaman said that she and her ministry officials will meet stakeholders of the economy in three cities to discuss the budget announcements

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday urged the industry to come on board to push growth, also giving assurance that the government is willing to support them. However, Sitharaman said, any intervention from the government has to be 'meaningful', instead of being 'rushed'.

Sitharaman, along with senior finance ministry officials will also be travelling to three cities, meeting industry officials, trade bodies, farmers to discuss and give clarifications about the Budget.

"This group (economic affairs, expenditure, revenue, DIPAM, banking) will be coming with me in the next few days to at least three cities (Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata) in India, to interact with the industry, economists, trade bodies, traders, farmers and farmers' group..before the this weekend ," Sitharaman said, adding the minister wants to have the meeting much before the Budget is discussed in the Parliament.

"The larger picture is macro economic stability," Sitharaman said at a post-budget meeting with the industry organized by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

The finance minister presented her second budget on February 1 amid a deep economic downturn, with India’s GDP growth recording 4.5 % in the September quarter--the slowest since March, 2013.

Sitharaman's comment is indicative of the government's willingness to address the industry's concern and take suitable action as required to support them — not a usual practice followed by a finance minister, immediately after the Budget was announced.

"I don't think in today's condition it can just be govt spending, which can pull the economy towards that growth that all of us want," Sitharaman said.

"I strongly believe that industry today will have to come out of that hesitation which...you have in your mind, but I think it's now time to come out of that hesitation. We have done whatever we can, we are not closing the doors we are still ready to do much more but I want it to be meaningful intervention from the government rather than rushed," the minister said.

A month after the budget was announced on July last year, the government went on a course correction mode and rolled back some of the controversial measures, including the enhanced surcharge levied on capital gains. Thereafter, she announced slew of sector-specific measures—exporters, real estate, automobile, among others.

The biggest reform came in the form of a corporate tax cut to attract investments. Towards this, the Centre will be taking a revenue hit of 1.45 trillion this fiscal. Now that the government has reduced corporate tax, abolished dividend distribution tax for companies, the minister urged the industry to now take charge and be equally responsible to contribute towards growth in the country.

"The approach has been that the government will spend on asset creation and the cascading effect of the spend from which the industry will benefit from," Sitharaman said.

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