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What's stopping you from investing? FM Sitharaman asks India Inc

Moneycontrol logo Moneycontrol 13-09-2022 Siddharth Upasani
What's stopping you from investing? FM Sitharaman asks India Inc © Moneycontrol What's stopping you from investing? FM Sitharaman asks India Inc

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has exhorted Indian industrialists to invest, asking what was stopping them from doing so at a time when the entire world was putting money into India.

"Since 2019, when I took charge of the finance ministry, I have been hearing industry doesn't think it's (environment) conducive. Alright, the (corporate) tax rate was brought down. I keep defending the industry even when people provocatively ask me what I would like to tell the private sector," Sitharaman said on September 13 while speaking in the national capital at the 15th Mindmine Summit.

"We will do everything to get industry coming and investing here. Give PLI (production linked incentive scheme)? We have given PLI. I want to hear from India Inc: what's stopping you?"

The finance minister's comments come at a time when the government has continued its investment push in an attempt to crowd in private investment and revive growth on a durable basis.

Data released last month showed the Centre has spent Rs 2.09 lakh crore as capital expenditure in April-July, more than 60 percent higher compared to the first four months of FY22.

For FY23 as a whole, the Centre has targeted a capital expenditure of Rs 7.5 lakh crore, which includes a Rs 1 lakh crore interest-free loan to states for 50 years.

However, the private capex cycle continues to prove elusive. According to CMIE, capex on new projects nearly halved to Rs 4.28 lakh crore in April-June from Rs 8.18 lakh crore in January-March.

"Countries and industries abroad think this is the place to be in now, at this time. FPI and FDI is coming. Stock market is so confident. Is it like Hanuman and you don't believe in your own capacity and strength?" the finance minister asked industry leaders present at the summit today.

Commenting on the overall investment environment, Sitharaman said companies who are moving out of China and looking to relocate to India were doing so because they find the Indian policy ecosystem a lot more attractive and facilitative for such a move.

The finance minister also called on industry leaders to ensure timely payment to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, something which the government had acted on itself.

"Support to MSMEs - and I know I am treading in dangerous, land-mine ridden area - is not just what government can give... All of you can equally help!"

"We wanted payment to go to MSMEs in due time... I spent a lot of time going through it (the data). I was surprised to find that a considerable pending payment was also from the big industries."

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