As part of pre-Budget deliberations, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday held a meeting with state finance ministers who suggested steps to revive growth and boost revenue collection against the backdrop of COVID-19 crisis. The Finance Ministry in a statement said the meeting was held through video conference and was attended by chief ministers, deputy chief ministers, finance ministers, ministers and senior officers from the states and Union Territories and the Union Government.
Sitharaman highlighted the importance of this meeting as a sign of cooperative federalism and indicated the manner in which the Union Government was strongly supportive of States/Union Territories (with Legislature) fight against the pandemic. Most participants thanked the Union Finance Minister for financially supporting their States/Union Territories during the worst months of pandemic, by enhancing borrowing limits and providing back to back loans to States, the statement said. The participants also gave numerous suggestions to the Union Finance Minister for inclusion in the Budget Speech, it said.
According to sources, state ministers expressed their suggestions on growth, investment, resource requirement and fiscal policy. "Union Finance Minister Smt. @nsitharaman holds Pre-Budget meeting for upcoming Budget 2021-22 with Finance Ministers of all States and Union Territories (with legislature) through video conferencing in New Delhi today," the Finance Ministry said in a tweet after the meeting.
Along with the Finance Minister, Finance Secretary A B Pandey, Expenditure Secretary T V Somanathan, Economic Affairs Secretary Tarun Bajaj, Chief Economic Adviser K V Subramanian and senior officers were also present. Last month, the Finance Minister chaired a series of pre-budget meetings for Budget 2021-22, from December 14-23. A host of suggestions concerning fiscal policy, taxation and green growth among others were received from various stakeholders during the customary pre-budget meetings convened by the Finance Ministry through video conferencing.
More than 170 invitees representing nine stakeholder groups participated in 15 virtual meetings chaired by the Finance Minister. The meeting with state finance ministers is 16th meeting. This is the first time in the history of Budget-making exercise that such consultation meetings were held in virtual mode due to the COVID-19 crisis.