Finance Minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday assured India Inc that the government would help revive businesses as it did not want any company to shut down, and urged industry to come out of “self-doubt”. “This government does not want businesses to close. We want to help them to be revived by legislative and other administrative changes... we are with you. I want this mood of self-doubt to be completely removed from your minds,” the FM said at an event by industry body Assocham.
“Several steps (have been) taken post-Budget which were essentially responding to industry and some of them are probably showing some impact on the ground now.”
The FM said state-owned banks had been told to lend more instead of holding it in reverse repo with the Reserve Bank of India.
The most stressed NBFCs had been provided liquidity, as the government looks for ways to turn around a flagging economy, she added. The government has identified at least 10 projects so far as part of an infrastructure pipeline and these will get funds upfront. “I had announced during the Budget that Rs 1 trillion will be given for infrastructure and I also announced that this is front-loaded. At least 10 new infrastructure projects are ready for clearance in the coming year so that they get the money upfront,” she said.
After Sitharaman’s Budget announcement, the Centre had, in September, set up a high-level task force to identify infrastructure projects for Rs 100 trillion investment by 2024-25. Addressing industry representatives, Sitharaman said India’s macro-economic indicators were on a solid footing. Inflation had been kept under control, macro-economic fundamentals and foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows were strong, and foreign exchange reserves at record highs.
Highlighting some of the steps taken by the government after the Budget, she said liquidity crunch was addressed, capital was infused in public sector banks as well as the NBFC sector and professionalisation of Public sector undertaking (PSU) boards was done. The government’s decision to slash corporation tax rate in September has made a difference and a lot of new investments are expected to flow into India, she said.
The FM also emphasised that the government has brought in transparency and technology in tax collection and eliminate harassment. With the introduction of faceless assessment, tax harassment is going to be a thing of the past, she added.