Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman assured that social sector spending will not be hit even if challenges arise due to economic slowdown.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday categorically said budgetary commitments for social sector spending would not to be affected in case of tax shortfall while reiterating that the government was interacting with each sector facing challenges in the present economic situation.
“What I can say based on the interactions I have had is the targets given to various (tax) departments have been given after due considerations and discussions. If there are challenges as the result of which collections may be far less, we will look into it as the situation develops. But certainly that is not going to affect the commitments we have made in the Budget for social sector spending,” Sitharaman told the media.
The minister said the government was yet to take a call on how it would use the surplus reserve of Rs 1.76 lakh crore it has received from the Reserve Bank of India.
Replying to a query on why the stock market has not bounced back after the series of measures announced by the government, Sitharaman said: “I think at this stage I am not going to able to respond to that specific question…I have not closed the consultations, we are continuing with that.”
The minister said the government was looking at challenges faces by various sectors. “We are interacting with each of the sectors, and taking a considered view on how we will have to respond to each one of them, so that the sectors get the solutions they have asked.”.”There will be one more consultation. We are constantly and openly engaging with the sectors, who are expecting the government to respond.”
Regarding the automobile sector now going through tough times, the minister said the government has responded by giving it accelerated depreciation post-consultation. She also referred to the government’s clear statement that it would allow all types of vehicles to continue to ply as long as their registration was valid.
The government’s move came in view of apprehension in the minds of all stakeholders on whether there will be only promotion of electric vehicles at the cost of internal combustion engines.Sounding positive that the economy would bounce back, she said in 2012-13 also there was a dip and then the economy rose again.
“That time also the then Finance Minister had said there is no need to be pessimistic,” she said.The minister said the government was not underestimating the requirements of the various sectors. “The challenges faced by the various sectors will be understood and all help extended,” she added.