New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday held a couple of review meetings on Capital Expenditure (Capex) of Civil Aviation and Telecommunications Ministries and their respective PSUs. The review meetings were attended by the Secretary (Economic Affairs), Secretary (Civil Aviation), Secretary (Telecom), Joint Secretaries (Economic Affairs), Joint Secretary & Finance Advisers of Civil Aviation and Telecom and heads of the respective PSUs. In the meeting, Sitharaman emphasised that there must be an accelerated phase of infrastructure development and Ministries must continuously make concerted efforts to ensure that project implementation is fast-tracked.
Sitharaman reiterated that Ministries must pool in all efforts to ensure higher capital spending in the coming months to achieve higher growth in the economy. The Minister in detail discussed the Capex status of Q1 and Q2, Front-loading of Capex, estimated targets of capital spending by Ministries and their PSUs in the upcoming quarters of the current financial year, expenditure incurred for the implementation of National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) projects, estimation of funds to be raised by asset monetization, projects undertaken through PPP and Convergence under National Master Plan (Gati Shakti).
The Finance Minister exhorted officials to monitor the implementation of projects besides monitoring the release of funds. Smt. Sitharaman reiterated that infrastructure projects are a priority for the Government and necessary funds will be made available for Capex.
Sitharaman underlined that infrastructure spending includes not only Central Government budgetary expenditure on infrastructure, but also spending by State Governments and the private sector. The private Capex on infrastructure and those under Public-Private Partnership should also be tracked to capture the entire infra progress in the country.
The Finance Minister also directed officials in the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) to work in close coordination with the Ministry of Civil Aviation to ensure that more projects are initiated and Capex spending in FY23 is substantially increased than the present target. Smt. Sitharaman asked the Department of Telecommunications to push its CPSE Capex, fast-track asset monetization, and work in close coordination with DIPAM to finalise the process of monetization at the earliest, ensuring expeditious implementation of digital expansion plans in the entire North-East region on priority.
Sitharaman enjoined the Secretaries concerned to push expenditure on infrastructure projects in the current FY as well as plan for next FY.
Monday's meeting is the first of a series of review meetings by the Finance Minister on Capex with various infrastructure Ministries/ Departments and in continuation of the previous round of meetings held in June, 2021.
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