New Delhi: Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman, held her seventh Pre-Budget Consultations with different stakeholders from the infrastructure sector and experts of energy sector and climate change in connection with the forthcoming General Budget 2020-21 here today.
The main areas of discussion during the aforesaid meeting included issues relating to challenges in the infrastructure sector vis-a-vis framing of trade rules and policies in global context, quality of resilience of infrastructure sector and related finance, railway infrastructure, enhanced focus on adapting renewable energy for economy and environment, climate resilient infrastructure development, promotion of non-fossil fuel based energy, and growing role of circular economy in development imperatives and policies among others.
The stakeholders of infrastructure sector and experts of energy sector and climate change gave a wide range of suggestions in today’s meeting, including availability of finance for real estate, infrastructure and affordable housing; renewable energy sector to have larger capacity creation; further fine-tuning in IT Act; lower duties and softer lending rates; automotive industry’s role in fighting climate change through support for electric mobility, scrapping policy for old polluting vehicles and focus on mass transport powered by renewable energy; attention on taxonomy on green economic activities/climate finance; climate compliant investment; more funds for combating Air pollution increasing efficiency of resource use; promoting energy efficiency in SME sector via Government support to cluster based intermediaries; and faster phasing out of depreciated coal fired power plants.
Further suggestions include push to bio-fertiliser; viability gap funding for batteries to encourage renewable energy power storage, expansion of existing Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM), promotion of energy efficient appliances including LPG cooking stoves and bringing technology for improving Railway infrastructure.
Stakeholders of infrastructure sector and experts of energy sector and climate change included Mahendra Singhi, President, Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA); Naveen Munjal, Managing Director, Hero Electric Vehicles Pvt. Ltd.; Manoj Kohli, Executive MD of SB Energy; Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India; T.R. Dua, Director General, TAIPA; Rajan Wadhera, President, SIAM; Pustav Joshi, Program Manager (Clean Energy Finance), Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation; Ajay Mathur, DG, TERI; N. K. Goyal, President, CMAI Association of India, Chairman Emeritus TEMA; Mihir Swarup Sharma, Head, Observer Research Foundation; Kireet Kumar, Scientists-G & Head CLWRM, G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development; Navroz K. Dubash, Professor, Centre for Policy Research; Milind G. Sohoni, Professor, Indian School of Business; and Shantanu Dixit, Coordinator, Prayas (Energy Group) among others.
Along with the Finance Minister, the meeting was attended by Finance Secretary, Rajeev Kumar; Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, Economic Affairs; Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Revenue Secretary; Tuhin Kant Pandey, Secretary, DIPAM; Chandra Kishore Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Sanjeev Ranjan, Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways; Anand Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy; Dr K.V. Subramanian, CEA, and other senior officials of Ministry of Finance.
Since the week began, FM Sitharaman has held Pre-Budget Consultations with representatives of various Trade Unions and Labour Organisations. She also met with Chief Ministers of Haryana and Goa, and Finance Ministers of all states & UTs to discuss fiscal policy and interacted with representatives of Wipro, Mahindra, FICCI, Patanjali, CII, ASSOCHAM and other industrialists to discuss the economy and polices.
The FM met with representatives of CIL, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, FIWE, FIEO and other industry organisations to discuss trade & services, and with representatives of CII, IFFCO, NABARD, NRAA and other organisations to discuss the agricultural sector and agro processing industries.
FM Sitharaman also met with representatives of IIM, ISB, Apple, Paytm, Jio and others to discuss fintech, startups and digital economy, and later with reps of RBI, SBI, SEBI, ICICI, PNB and others to discuss the financial sector & capital markets.
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