FM pulls up infra ministries for ‘sluggish' capex, says public spending key to recovery
The Indian Express Delhi|December 18, 2021
Sitharaman asks depts to hold reviews, spend 75% by Dec, 100% by mid-March
ANISHA DUTTA

WITH PRE-BUDGET meetings already underway, Union Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has pulled up infrastructure ministries for their "sluggish performance" on capital expenditure and asked them to step up productive spending to stimulate the economy.

Admitting that private investments are yet to pick pace, Sitharaman has been keen on front-loading capital spending to aid a fledgling economic recovery. In one such letter dated December 6 to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, reviewed by The Indian Express, she wrote, “It is noted that the capex performance of your ministry till November 2021 was only 61% of the budget target."

The total budgeted capex for Railways in 2021-22 is Rs 1,07,100 crore; this means Railways could spend only about Rs 65,331 crore in the first eight months of the current financial year. Till October-end (the first seven months), the Railways' capex was Rs 60,434 crore or 56 per cent of the Budget Estimate.

"Hon'ble Prime Minister had also prompted us in the Cabinet meetings to step-up the capex significantly. Considering the slow pace of expenditure, I request you to hold weekly review meetings from now onwards to ensure that at least 75% of the budget targets are met by December 2021 and 100% of the targets are met by 15 March 2022,” she wrote to Vaishnaw.

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