Govt, RBI on same page on steps to boost economy: FM tells industry

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday assured industry leaders that the RBI and the government are on the "same page" and making efforts to boost the economy.

Addressing captains of the industry at the CII national council meeting, the finance minister also said from next week she would be meeting industry people in different parts to the country over tax harassment-related issues and redress grievances on the spot.

Sitharaman said that even with some moderation, India is still the fastest-growing large economy and with the government and the RBI working together in synergy in a cordial relationship, the ecosystem will help incentivize investments.

"We (the RBI and the government) are on the same page as regards to efforts that are required to boost the economy," she said and added there was an atmosphere of certainty and cordiality between the RBI and the government.

At no point and on no score, the government wants to make it difficult for the industry, she added.

High-frequency indicators like auto sale and core sector growth numbers are pointing towards a slowdown in the economy. Besides, the problems in the NBFC sector are adding to the woes.

Sitharaman said the government is looking at the financial sector woes and will address them. She indicated steps would be taken in the coming weeks to deal with the issue.

She also assured the industry that the government would have a re-look at the penal provisions concerning mandatory investment towards corporate social responsibility (CSR) by the companies.

"Our intention is not to criminally prosecute anybody," she said.

The minister further said that starting next week she would be visiting different parts of the country to meet industry representatives to find out specifically where tax harassment is taking place.

Tax authorities would be issued directions then and there to redress the grievances, she added.

Sitharaman also said a technology-based platform was being set up so that she herself could look into incidents of tax harassment.

On the taxation front, the minister said the government's intention is to reduce corporate tax and the industry would need to wait for it to happen, CII said in a tweet.

On outstanding dues from government departments and agencies to corporates and suppliers, Sitharaman stated that she was in the process of addressing the issue.

Delayed payments to MSMEs are estimated at around Rs 48,000 crore.

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