‘Centre is taking steps to revive consumption, growth’

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on January 16, 2020 Published on January 16, 2020

Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, at a meeting with industry chambers in Kolkata   -  Debasish Bhaduri

‘Banks’ financial health has improved and are now in a position to lend more’

The Centre is taking several measures to boost consumption in a bid to put the country’s economy on the growth path, said Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, on Thursday.

India is said to be facing the dual problem of a growth slowdown and high inflation , driven primarily by higher food prices.

Industry is hoping Budget 2020 to announce measures to revive consumption and spur growth, particularly in manufacturing.

“The government is taking various steps to increase the demand and the grow consumption. We have taken various steps in the past and will continue to do so in coming times as well. You wait and see the upcoming Budget…. that is why we are here for the consultation process to take the suggestion from industry leaders,” Thakur said.

He was talking to newspersons on the sidelines of a special session jointly organised by several chambers of commerce including MCCI, BCC, CCC and the Association of Corporate Advisers and Executives and the Direct Taxes Professionals’ Association.

With an aim to revive industrial growth and boost consumption, the Centre has taken various measures including reduction in the corporate tax rate, lowering of GST rates on select items and removing ‘angel tax’ for entities registered with DPIIT among others. However, all these measures have not yet translated into a higher demand.

Bank credit growth, which also has remained subdued due to poor demand, is also likely to start picking up in the coming quarters, he said. Talking about better credit availability, he said, that banks’ balance sheet have been cleaned up after the asset quality review; they have been recapitalised and most banks are now out of the RBI’s Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework.

“They (banks) are in a position to lend more. I think the situation is getting better with each passing day. There will be better credit availability and more demand as well in the coming months,” he said.

In a bid to boost ease of doing business, the government is also taking a “look” at the Companies Act to consider de-criminalising over 40 offences related to violations.

“The government is looking at which are the provisions that can be changed from criminal to civil offences. We look forward to your (industry) suggestions in the next seven days so that we can make necessary amendments,” he said.

While the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has been a “landmark initiative”, however, sometimes there are delays due to lack of infrastructure. The government is therefore looking at setting up more benches of both NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) and NCLAT (National Company Law Appellate Tribunal).

Citizenship Amendment Act

Thakur slammed the Congress supremo and Trinamool Congress chief for their opposition against the nationwide implementation of National Register of Citizens (NRC) program.

He also assured that there was no reason for Muslims, who are already citizens of the country, to fear the new law.

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Published on January 16, 2020
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