Finance Minister asks ministries to front load capex; explore PPPs for viable projects

Finance Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday asked various ministries to try to spend more than their capital expenditure (Capex) targets as well as explore public-private partnerships for viable projects.

During a meeting with top government officials to discuss the infrastructure roadmap, Sitharaman also urged the ministries and their CPSEs to ensure clearance of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) dues at the earliest. This was the fifth review meeting by the finance minister with ministries and departments on the infrastructure roadmap.

CAPEX plans of ministries and their CPSEs (Central Public Sector Enterprises), status of implementation of Budget announcements and measures to expedite infrastructure investment were discussed, according to an official release. "While reviewing the capital expenditure performance of the ministries and their CPSEs, finance minister emphasized that enhanced capex will play a critical role in revitalizing the economy post-pandemic and encouraged the Ministries to front-load their capital expenditure," it said.

The ministries were also requested to aim to achieve more than their capex targets. Union Budget for 2021-22 has provided a capital outlay of Rs 5.54 lakh Cr, an increase of 34.5 percent over the Budget Estimate of 2020-21. However, efforts from the budgetary side to increase the capital expenditure have to be complemented by the public sector enterprises, Sitharaman added.

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