Disinvestment Proceeds To Be Used For Creating Infrastructure For Country: Finance Minister
Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s finance minister, gestures as she speaks during a news conference in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg  )

Disinvestment Proceeds To Be Used For Creating Infrastructure For Country: Finance Minister

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said the money raised through disinvestment will be used to develop infrastructure, which will have multiplier effect on the economy and not bridging revenue deficit.

The government set an ambitious disinvestment target of Rs 2.10 lakh crore for the next financial year, which includes selling stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. and insurance behemoth Life Insurance Corporation of India.

"We are showing clearly where each monies being raised will go. So, it's not being raised to fill certain hole in the Consolidated Fund of India. The money being raised from disinvestment will go towards infrastructure.

"We are showing the direction. We are telling you where the money is going to be spent so that you can plan your investments and your investments and your expansion well in alignment with what government does... you will facilitate the government and we will equally facilitate the private sector," she said while addressing industry chamber Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce here.

Also read: Budget 2020: HSBC’s Pranjul Bhandari Sees Growth Stimulus If Divestment Target Is Met

Citing an example, she said import of those medical equipment which are not made in India will come at a duty, but duty collected will be utilised to fund creating medical infrastructure in aspirational districts where there are not good hospitals. She said when the government puts money infrastructure, it has cascading effect and give rise to economic activity.

On criticism of the government selling family silver through disinvestment, she said the money is not going to bridge revenue deficit but for creating infrastructure which has multiplier effect on the economy.

"...Money is not going to as fancy as revenue expenditure but going for creating infrastructure for the country which would probably have lot more multiplier effect in terms of economic activity than to keep an inefficient public sector largely. There are some efficient one also that are put on the block," she said.

Recalling the past experience of government fiscal expansion during the global economic crisis, the Finance Minister said the government has learnt from the past experience and decided not to go on the splurge to boost economy.

Also read: Budget 2020: Credibility Of Fiscal Math Depends On Higher Tax Revenue, Divestment Boost

"If I have to spend that kind of money, yes we are willing to do but we are clearly saying that we shall not repeat the mistakes of splurging whereas the money spent now with clear intention of asset creation, public asset creation...," she said.

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