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Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday asked ministries to front-load their FY22 capital expenditure and urged them to explore public private partnerships for viable projects, holding that enhanced capex will play a critical role in revitalising the economy post the pandemic.

Sitharaman held a virtual meeting with senior government officials to discuss the infrastructure roadmap. This was the fourth review meeting by the Finance Minister with ministries/departments. During the meeting, capex plans of ministries and their central public sector enterprises (CPSEs), status of implementation of budget announcements and measures to expedite infrastructure investment were discussed. The meeting was attended by secretaries of finance ministry, Department of Public Enterprises, power and Chairman, Railway Board as well as heads of CPSEs of these two ministries.

“Ministries were also requested to aim to achieve more than their capex targets. The Finance Minister said that the Budget for Financial Year FY22 provided a capital outlay of Rs.5.54 trillion, a sharp increase of 34.5% over the Budget Estimate of FY21. However, the efforts from the budgetary side to increase the capital expenditure have to be complemented by the Public Sector Enterprises," Sitharaman said.

The Finance Minister also highlighted that the infrastructure expenditure is not just central government budgetary expenditure on infrastructure and includes infrastructures pending by state governments and the private sector. “It also includes government expenditure through extra-budgetary resources. Therefore, Ministries are to actively work on getting projects funded through innovative structuring and financing and provide all support to private sector for enhancing infrastructure spending," Sitharaman said.

Sitharaman also requested the secretaries of ministries to push expenditure on large important projects to ensure that the achievement is commensurate with timelines. She also asked the ministries to take up regular reviews of sector-specific projects with the concerned state governments for effective implementation of the same.

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