FM Sitharaman urges power, coal ministries to fast-track capex plan

The meeting was attended by the secretaries of economic affairs, power, coal and atomic energy, apart from other senior officials

Nirmala Sitharaman
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Asserting that infrastructure projects are a priority for the government, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday reviewed the progress of capital expenditure by the ministries of power and coal and asked them to ensure that project implementation is fast-tracked.

Besides, the Department of Atomic Energy was also part of the review meeting called to give a fillip to capital expenditure (capex) and infrastructure push.

The finance minister emphasised there must be close monitoring for infrastructure spending on-ground and ministries must continuously make concerted efforts, including enhanced coordination with all states, to ensure that project implementation is fast-tracked, an official statement said.

She directed officials in Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) to work in close coordination with ministries /departments to ensure that project implementation via civil works is not hampered due to any lack of coordination amongst agencies (like contractors), or by delay in procurement of necessary equipment from international markets.

During the meeting, capex status of Q1 and Q2, front-loading of capex, estimated targets of capital spending by ministries and their Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) in the upcoming quarters and expenditure incurred for implementation of the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) projects were discussed.

Estimation of funds to be raised by asset monetisation, projects undertaken through public private partnership (PPP) and convergence under the National Master Plan (Gati Shakti) were also deliberated upon.

The meeting was attended by the secretaries of economic affairs, power, coal and atomic energy, apart from other senior officials.

In the review with the Ministry of Power (MoP), Sitharaman observed that it must increase outreach to states to facilitate project implementation by obtaining necessary clearances in time.

In discussion with the Ministry of Coal, she said efforts must be made to ensure timely completion of projects.

In review with the Department of Atomic Energy, the finance minister stressed on the need to track civil works closely and take proactive steps regarding procurement of key international equipment in coordination with external affairs and economic affairs departments.

The Union Budget for 2021-22 has provided a capital outlay of Rs 5.54 lakh crore, an increase of 34.5 per cent over the Budget Estimate of 2020-21.

Monday's meeting was the second in 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.