Centre turns to Chief Ministers to sustain economic recovery

Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet bankers on November 18

November 12, 2021 09:55 pm | Updated 11:05 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A steel bridge under construction in Bengaluru, Karnataka, earlier this year.

A steel bridge under construction in Bengaluru, Karnataka, earlier this year.

With an eye on sustaining the economic recovery and spurring investment flows, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will preside over a meeting with bankers next week to take stock of concerns of critical sectors of the economy, while Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will host a meeting with State Chief Ministers and Finance Ministers on Monday.

The Prime Minister is expected to interact with bankers on the second day of a two-day meeting scheduled for November 17 and 18, said a senior government official. Unlike such meetings in the past, this time, issues and challenges of sectors like cement and steel, among others, are being identified and will be consolidated ahead of the PM's session.

“The parley with States will be about the state of the economy as a whole as we are now at a critical juncture. The robust recovery has to be maintained, it can’t be that we just do well this year,” the official said.

While this Centre-State meeting is independent of pre-Budget consultations, the person said that Budget 2022-23 will be focused on sustaining the recovery, as opposed to this year’s Budget which was largely about coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Finance Minister seeks to embark on a collaborative growth vision for the nation and encourage an open exchange of ideas centred on enhancing the investment climate of the country,” the Ministry said.

Finance Secretary T.V. Somanathan, at a briefing about Monday’s meeting, said that several things that were needed to be done to take India to a higher growth path were in the States’ domain. “Nothing can happen without the States. The focus of this interaction will be on State-level issues, challenges and opportunities and evolving an inclusive growth trajectory for all Indians,” he said.

“The hope is that after this discussion where the States’ views and inputs on how things can be done better and their challenges will be aired, each State would have a clearer appreciation of what needs to be done and the Centre will support them in whatever needs to be done,” he added.

Ajay Seth, Economic Affairs Secretary, said that the meeting would not just be focusing on enhancing public infrastructure spending, but also on attracting more investments and creating jobs.

“States would be requested to look at investor concerns such as land availability, land pricing, water and electricity supply issues and various approvals from urban local bodies. It will be a two-way process where States can also talk about the reforms needed at the Central level,” he said.

Apart from investment promotion and facilitation, the meeting with State CMs, FMs and Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories is also expected to discuss ways to expedite projects under the National Infrastructure Pipeline as well as assets identified for the National Monetisation Pipeline.

“The envisaged interaction will attempt to create a policy discourse and a facilitative environment for inward investment-led growth. This will be enabled by a pro-active approach to investment promotion, efficiencies brought about by Ease of Doing Business reforms, and an emphasis on accelerating approvals and clearances up to Urban Local Bodies levels,” the Ministry said in a statement. Secretaries of line Ministries as well as States’ Chief Secretaries and Finance Secretaries will also be present.

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