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New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman yesterday chaired review meetings with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Department of Telecommunications in New Delhi to give a fillip to capital expenditure CAPEX and infrastructure progress in the country. The review meetings were attended by the Economic Affairs Secretary, Civil Aviation Secretary, Telecom Secretary, Joint Secretaries Economic Affairs, Joint Secretary and Finance Advisers of Civil Aviation and Telecom amongst others. 

The Finance Minister emphasised that there must be an accelerated phase of infrastructure development and Ministries must continuously make concerted efforts to ensure that project implementation is fast-tracked.

During the meeting, CAPEX status of First Quarter and Second Quarter, Front-loading of CAPEX, estimated targets of capital spending by Ministries and their Central Public Sector Enterprises in the upcoming quarters of the current financial year, expenditure incurred for the implementation of National Infrastructure Pipeline projects, estimation of funds to be raised by asset monetization, projects are undertaken through Public-Private Partnership and Convergence under National Master Plan Gati Shakti were discussed. Ms Sitharaman reiterated that Ministries must pool in all efforts to ensure higher capital spending in the coming months to achieve higher growth in the economy.

She exhorted officials to monitor the implementation of projects besides monitoring the release of funds.  Ms Sitharaman reiterated that infrastructure projects are a priority for the Government and necessary funds will be made available for CAPEX.

The Minister underlined that the infrastructure spending includes not only Central Government budgetary expenditure on infrastructure, but also spending by State Governments and the private sector. The private CAPEX on infrastructure and those under Public-Private Partnership should also be tracked to capture the entire infra progress in the country.

The Finance Minister also directed officials in the Department of Economic Affairs to work in close coordination with the Ministry of Civil Aviation to ensure that more projects are initiated and CAPEX spending in Financial Year 23 is substantially increased than the present target.  

Ms Sitharaman asked the Department of Telecommunications to push its CPSE CAPEX, fast-track asset monetization and work in close coordination with the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management DIPAM to finalise the process of monetization at the earliest, ensuring expeditious implementation of digital expansion plans in the entire North-East region on priority.

The Minister enjoined the Secretaries concerned to push expenditure on infrastructure projects in current Financial Year as well as plan for next Financial Year.  Today's meeting was the first of a series of review meetings by the Finance Minister on CAPEX with various infrastructure Ministries or Departments and in continuation of the previous round of meetings held in June this year.




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