Arguing that India's economy is back on track and state-run banks have “remarkably turned around”, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman made an impassioned plea to India Inc to step up investment, while promising to remove whatever obstacles were being faced by the corporate sector.
“At a time when India is looking at healthy growth, I want Indian industry, India Inc, to be a lot more risk-taking. I want Indian industry to show that we are going to stand up for India and build India”, she said at an event organised by CII.
Sitharaman has urged states, lenders and industry as the government seeks to spur investment to ensure that the growth momentum continues. Referring to public sector performance, the FM said, “The banking sector has remarkably turned around. They are no more the laggards of the Indian economy. Their NPAs have been drastically brought down, recoveries are on a high... More than £1 billion have been raised from the market and just in the last three weeks ending Diwali, banks went on a credit outreach programme, more than £7.5 billion have been distributed to four-five different categories... Liquidity was taken to those who needed for building their business, for buying their scooters or building their homes or for putting it in agriculture.” The comments come just a day before PM Narendra Modi’s meeting with the lenders. While crediting industry for playing a role in the turnaround, Sitharaman said that Modi had asked government departments to identify how life can be made easier for businesses.
At the same time, she also argued for Indian investment on the grounds that the country needed to be Atmanirbhar, or self-reliant. “Unless each one of us makes an effort to make sure that this country stands on its own and be also able to supply to the world, our revival will always be facing a risk,” she said, while pointing to challenges in accessing fuel, chips, containers and shipping lines.