Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman to meet infra secretaries, PSU heads


NEW DELHI: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to meet secretaries of infrastructure-related ministries and heads of public sector enterprises over the next two days to take stock of what more needs to be done to revive the economy and push up investments.

The meeting with secretaries to the ministries like road transport and highways, housing and urban development and shipping is scheduled for Friday, while heads of PSEs will meet her on Saturday, sources told ET.

“The issues that are likely to come up for discussion include ways to push up spending across sectors and timely release of payments to ensure that projects are not delayed/stuck for paucity of funds,” a government official aware of the matter, told ET.

These are part of the series of meetings the finance minister is holding over the last one week to assess the issues stalling economic growth and suggest measures to resolve them. Sitharaman on Thursday chaired a meeting with private banks and financial institutions as part of the exercise to tackle the slowdown. Prior to this, she had met heads of public sector banks.

Among key decisions, the government said the PSBs would hold ‘loan melas’ in 400 districts to lend to desirable shadow banks and retail borrowers. No stressed loan accounts of MSMEs would be declared NPAs till March 2020, the government announced.

Last week, Sitharaman also announced a cut in corporate tax rate from an effective 35% (including surcharges and cesses), to an effective 25.17%. The move, pegged as one of the strongest in the recent past, is expected to make India more competitive globally and boost exports.

In the first quarter of the current financial year, India GDP growth fell to a feeble 5% — its slowest pace in the last six years.