FM holds Pre-Budget Consultations with Infrastructure, Financial, Capital Markets sectors

Union Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman held Pre-Budget Consultations with representatives of the Infrastructure, Climate Change, Financial and Capital Markets sectors here yesterday.
The main areas of discussion during the Minister’s fourth Pre-Budget Consultation with representatives of Infrastructure Sector and Climate Change included issues relating to bringing in more capital to the infrastructure sector such as highways, railways, telecom, automobile.
It also included incentives for electric vehicles as well as for the green sector and renewable energy among others.
Along with the Finance Minister, the meeting was attended by Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Subhash C. Garg, Finance Secretary, and Girish Chandra Murmu, Expenditure Secretary.
With an eye on creating sustainable and stable opportunities, suggestions  from the representatives of infrastructure sector and experts of climate change included containing the rising cost of infrastructure projects, rationalisation of various levies in the infrastructure sector, and the introduction of tax-free bonds to boost investment.
Streamlining of the land acquisition process, creation of Green Technology Acceleration Fund, incentivising domestic manufacturing of solar energy equipment, fiscal incentives for the development of Electric Vehicles industry, user development fee for up-gradation of railway stations were also discussed.
Other topics included the inclusion of telecom towers in plant and machinery category for GST purposes, promotion of non-fossil fuel based energy, redevelopment of wasteland and greater emphasis on recycling/up-cycling of waste material, imparting infrastructure status to renewable energy sector, provisions related to scraping of old vehicles and incentivising higher investment in R&D in the automobile sector, among others.
Earlier, in her third Pre-Budget Consultation Meeting with stakeholders from the Financial Sector and Capital Markets, the main areas of discussion included issues relating to the two areas as well as Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs), among others.
With a view to give a boost to Indian markets, the representatives of Financial Sector & Capital Markets submitted several suggestions concerning the infusion of capital in niche/regional banks and the enhanced role of the Financial Sector Development Council in the NBFC sector.
The need to distinguish between solvency, governance & liquidity issues was mentioned along with the creation of dedicated liquidity window for NBFC sector, review of interest rates on the government's Small Savings Schemes, review of banking NPAs provisions through setting up a Committee, enhancing financial literacy programmes and funding.
Incentivising agricultural marketing, setting-up of Debt Exchange Traded Fund, domestic capability building in Audit & Credit Rating, making available trade licence online for MSME sector came up for discussions.
The meeting also took up the provision to ease liquidity pressures created due to insolvency, rationalisation of various taxes like Security Transaction Tax (STT) in the capital market, setting-up of a separate bond exchange, allowing banks to invest in InvITs to access broader market and make Corporate Tax progressive to incentivise MSME Sector among others.
Major stakeholders of the Financial Sector and Capital Markets who participated in the meeting including N. S. Vishwanathan, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India, Rajnish Kumar, Chairman, State Bank of India, Sunil Mehta, Chairman, PNB and Indian Banks’ Association, T.C. Suseel Kumar, MD, LIC, Rakesh Mohan Diwan, Senior Vice President – Corporate Affairs-The Muthoot Group, Rajiv Anand, ED, Axis Bank Ltd.

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