Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the emphasis accorded to infrastructural spending would be carried over to some extent in the upcoming Budget. The Finance Minister was speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Monday. She mentioned that high-frequency indicators were indicating that the Indian economy was headed for a strong recovery.
The Finance Minister, responding to a separate question, stated that supply constraints have been aggravated due to floods and other practical problems. She mentioned that the situation has been particularly true this year, and was responsible for higher prices of perishable goods.
Threat from Omicron
Responding to a query at the forum, the Finance Minister stated that the new mutated variant of the coronavirus, i.e, the Omicron would not be a threat given the uptick in the vaccination programme across the country. She said that India would be the fastest growing economy in the world notwithstanding the threats posed by the coronavirus. However, she suggested caution about the new mutated variant.
On December 4, the country had confirmed its third case of the mutated variant in Gujarat's Jamnagar. The other two belong to Karnataka. The severity of the virus continues is still being contested.
Speaking about development pertaining to the cryptocurrency bill, she stated the government would be bringing the cryptocurrency bill. The Finance Minister suggested that unregulated speculation concerning developments in the crypto space is 'unhealthy'.
On November 30, the Finance Minister informed Rajya Sabha that no decision was taken on banning cryptocurrency advertisements. She added that the crypto market is a risky area and of not in a complete regulatory framework. The Finance Minister said the Government is working on a new bill.
According to her, apex banker RBI and markets regulator SEBI were simultaneously working on creating awareness about the risks associated with crypto-trading. She added that existing guidelines are being studied on how to handle crypto-related advertising.
Disinvestment target for the current fiscal
The Finance Minister stated the disinvestment of the national carrier, Air India is expected to be completed by the end of the year. In October, the Department Of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary had informed about the signing of the share purchase agreement between the government and Tata Sons. Tata Sons had won the bid for acquiring a 100 per cent stake in the national carrier on October 8.
In her budget address this year, the Finance Minister had set a disinvestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore for the current fiscal. The public-sector undertaking listed to be put up for disinvestment included IDBI Bank, BPCL, Shipping Corp, Container Corporation, Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd, Pawan Hans and Air India. She had mentioned that amendments to the existing legislation would be bought so as to facilitate the IPO of LIC in 2021-22.
The Finance Minister stated on Saturday that the government is making progress on each of the proposed disinvestment. However, she added that fixing loose ends within the bureaucracy would take time.