Press Conference by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Press Conference by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

the field formations with the principal commissioner of income tax in the morning officials of the cbdt were all with us post that we also had a interaction again with the cbic through the board members being with us and also the principal chief commissioners so the morning we had a lot of interactive communication with officials dealing with income tax and other direct tax issues and in the afternoon it was on customs and gst related issues it was a good blend of senior officials and absolute freshers as well so it was a free interaction with the revenue secretary obviously speaking i also spoke but they were an open session also wherein the irrespective of the number of years in service we had inputs coming from officials who were at various levels in the field as they say post that in the evening yesterday we had a high tea and again a closed door in the in that the media was not present there interaction with the industry leaders if that was yesterday today in the morning i’ve had a detailed annual review with the public sector banks and their chiefs again there was a free interactive session with the the secretary department of financial services they wish pandava being with me he also was accompanied by pankaj jain and also amit garwal additional secretaries from the ministry there again there was a detailed discussion each of the banks together have given me through the iba presentation on where all of their performances in fact after that we had a detailed interactive session where both debushes and myself have very clearly laid out the picture of the government’s various schemes which are going on particularly after the second wave and also sort of reviewing what was announced through the atmanar barbara several announcements how the banks have taken it all forward and now post to the second wave the announcements which have been made we would like the banks also to have their role to take it forward to the sections for whom they are designed and aimed at over and above that clearly i have requested the banks to have at various regional levels interaction with export promotion agencies with the chambers of commerce and industry so that the requirement of exporters can all be timely well addressed and between public sub sector banks there should be some kind of a simple but yet a uniform approach so that exporters are not made to run between one bank and other scouting to see where the offer is better so public sector banks have all been requested to have that interaction not just with the the export oriented industries but also with their chambers and with their federation of export federation of indian exporters organization the feel other than that both the debris panda and myself have highlighted the fact that today’s nature of banking is also changing we see even from industry inputs that people are able to raise finances even outside of the banking system several decades post independence india has depended only through the banks funds which businesses would want to have now industry themselves recognize that they have avenues outside of the banks in that they are able to put the market and raise enough revenues even our banks themselves have raised revenues from the markets so there was a bit of a discussion on those avenues also to be understood by the banks and focus on how they can extend credit uh to wherever it is required in that we’ve also just as we placed emphasis on the export export oriented industries we’ve underlined the fact that prime minister has been emphasizing all over the country that they should be by district and identification of such goods which can be found to have great export potential and that is why you had this one district one product in uttar pradesh only a few days ago i had gone and the both the sid b and the exim bank were with me to carry that forward in the name of uberte where you identify champions champions within that particular chosen sector and help them to do everything it takes for exporting the products in that credit will be given assistance will be provided for technology infusion and also hand holding will happen for export of products so i’ve i have requested all the banks all over the country to work with state governments and ensure that by district that one district one product also gets benefit from the banks syd b and xm bank together are also helping in providing cluster facilitation for such things and also providing common infrastructure which will be required by these export potential manufacturers who are largely in small and medium areas but for them to have a common infrastructure within that district as is required by that product manufacturer banks can also play a role we have highlighted that other than that i have from the inputs that i have received from the industry from the input i have received from the direct taxation and indirect taxation field formations we understand that lot of sunrise sectors require a lot of banking assistance and identifying these sunrise sectors i’ve asked the banks to extend themselves to understand what will be their financial requirement and try facilitating them fintech is one of the areas which in which banks are doing quite a lot of work i’ve highlighted to them that there are two aspects one of course for the banks themselves to have the benefit of technology being used and another fintech as a sector itself also requires a lot of assistance i’ve asked banks to please look at that area as well and approach through various other information systems that they may have such people who are already furthering their businesses but that is one of the ways in which we can provide greater stimulus and lastly about the banks i’ve also requested banks to come up with specific plans for the northeast so that businesses and requirements of the north east states not one plan for all the eight states but to each according to their requirement so that the logistics in the northeast so that exports from the northeast prime minister has emphasised again for the organic fruits and vegetables and the products which come out of the northeast which can find markets all over for the banks also to make sure that that will happen there is again a matter of concern which banks themselves have recognized that in the eastern states b tourism bihar be it jharkhand and somewhat even uh for that matter west bengal where casa deposits are actually piling up and banks should now as much as possible also give that facility in that region for greater credit expansion it’s one thing to receive deposits smaller medium-sized deposits from that region from the people who are living in that region but to have a plan which is so desperately needed so that credit flow for business development in those regions can also be better promoted so whilst the situation in the western and southern regions of the country casa is there credit requirement is also there so you are able to utilize that earn better and also give in better terms for the credit requirement but that’s not so much happening in the eastern and particularly the several states of eastern region so these were elaborately discussed i also repeat something which was said earlier collectively public sector banks have all done well they’ve come out of the pca today they are able to show clear profits and individually to several banks have done very well they have also shown that they are now in a position to go to the market and raise money for their growth capital requirements so today you find the indian public sector banks even though they were going through the pandemic even though they were extending all facilities for all the dbt beneficiaries and so on through the bank mitra and that is one thing on which i have repeatedly given credit to the banks for having undertaken these kind of work during the pandemic the amalgamation work which happened just prior to the pandemic have not suffered because their attention has gone to serving you know during the pandemic they have completed the process today all banks are sufficiently endowed and the processes of amalgamation has not let any customer to suffer seamlessly the amalgamations have have all happened and most of the banks are comfortably reporting on the amalgamation require related information so we also launched the ease which is the easy access and service excellence which was launched after 2015 when prime minister had addressed the banks through what was that called the gyan sangam in 2015 when prime minister addressed through the gyansangam all the banks and also spoke about details about how professional they should become how they can improve on their service experience for the customers and so on since then without any gap ease has been launched 1.0 then 2.0 3.0 and for each one of them a report has been given about how the outcomes are banks have improved the customer experiences today we launched ease 4.0 even that has been achieved by the banks so i’m glad there is one announcement which i would want debushes to himself say which pertain to the benefits pensionary benefits and so on this is in continuation of the 11th bipartite settlement which was signed by the iba with the unions on 11 11 2020 on wage revision so from it uh there was a proposal for enhancement in the family pension and also the employer’s contribution under the national pension scheme so this has also been approved by the honourable finance minister and the benefits would now accrue to the family pensioner earlier you know the scheme had slabs of 15 20 and 30 percent of the pay that the pensioner drew at that point of time and it was capped subject to a maximum of 9284 rupees so that was a very poultry sum and madam finance minister was very much concerned and wanted that this should be revised so that they get a decent amount to survive and sustain so now the cap has been completely removed and a uniform slab of 30 of the pay that the employee was receiving will be entitled to them as the family venture so it could go up to as high as 30 35 000 rupees per family so that is the first one the second uh change that has been brought about is that the employee employer was contributing uh 10 uh by way of contribution to the nps corpus 10 was coming from the employee and 10 was being given by the employer now this 10 of the employer has been enhanced to 14 which means a 40 percent rise in the pension contribution from the banks for the employees so these are two very significant changes that have been made and the government of india finance minister has already approved this and these benefits would be available to these employees with this change thank you so i’ll add one more bit about the meetings that i’ve had with the cbdt and with the cbic and the field formations from the mumbai region i was immensely grateful to the customs that during the corona pandemic they had without taking any rest seamlessly moved goods which were coming in to meet the requirements of the hospitals and also the importers and on that the customs worked tirelessly and i put on record which i did before them as well my appreciation for the way in which customs had worked 24 by seven and we hadn’t had any complaints coming from anyone saying no customs is sitting over our you know goods which have been imported and swamped so customs i did mention that particularly i’m very thankful similarly the gst of issues you’ll all recollect that in the last several months the collection has been kept up the momentum has been maintained we’ve all through maintained on an average over one lakh rupees collection per month and that couldn’t have been possible unless the gst officials had you know worked very hard and they did and therefore that there was a word of praise for that and the new normal as would the revenue secretary would say will probably be in the range of one lakh ten thousand per month on an average and uh the officers were quite enthused and i am grateful for that the cbdt as well has been working very hard and the direct taxation collection more importantly both the gst and the direct taxation have plugged a lot of loopholes as a result of which the collections have improved the gst particularly several instances of gaming the system have all been identified by using the technology available to them in both the cases and assets also in the case of the banks there was a great sense of feeling uh sad and condolence for sex expressed by all of us for all those staff members who have been affected families who who have lost their breadwinner in many cases our colleagues who were affected have all succumbed to the kovid and even that was one of the things on which all of us have expressed deep condolences and among ourselves made sure that the pensionary and other bench benefits which have to reach these people and their families will be and as as it is several of them have already got it but we shall be looking into helping them so that none of the families have to run from pillar to post and we shall facilitate that these are my open opening remarks if anything is to be added at this stage by you okay [Music] [Music] that uh various weather predicting agencies have said that the monsoons could be below normal uh man you’ve been analyzing that situation what kind of impact do you assess as far as the economy is concerned at this juncture as well as uh onto banks when it comes as and when i’m ready to answer as and when i’m ready to answer on the bank’s banks privatization i will answer so at this stage there’s nothing for me to say on that which is your first question second question is on the monsoon the monsoon is still on sometimes monsoon in some parts has been erratic there has been excess rain till two days before there would have been a shortfall delhi for instance had nearly a 60 shortfall which was all made up and went on to the surplus mode within a matter of six hours of rain so at this stage i think it will be a bit too much for anyone of us to safely assess the impact of the monsoon i’ll wait to see it for a bit longer but monsoon or otherwise we can see the revival happening about which i have already mentioned once before we’ll wait for the signals to be even more clearer but one thing which i further will add other than the atmanarbar announcements and the second announcement after the second wave i’ve asked the banks if you would remember there was a credit outreach which we did in 2019 where banks went over to all the districts in the country and extended all kinds of credit to meet the demand requirements and many of them probably did more than proportionately serve the ram costs which is the retail which is agriculture and which is also the msme related loans the if that was the outcome in fact in parliament also i had answered a question that between october 2019 and march 2021 nearly 4.9 approximately 4.94 lakh crores which were distributed during this credit outreach between october and march october 19 and march 21 this year too from a date which will be determined sometime in october which the secretary dfs will announce a bit later talking to all the banks however there will be a credit outreach even this year in every district of the country and banks would go to have the credit outreach kind of conducted the way they conducted earlier and also you would remember that after the second wave we had announced through the mfis microfinance institutions to be given up to a top ceiling of 1.5 lakhs for which the nbfcs will also help the mfis to reach out i understand good progress is being made on that devishes will probably brief so in order to keep up the momentum of stimulus that we are periodically giving we’ve also asked the banks to move out there and give people who would want to borrow from them for any one of their requirements anything else you want to address [Music] the direct listing is under consideration of the government because to make it a success there would be some requirements of amendment in some legislations to ensure that there is a smooth trading of these securities outside the territory of india so we’ll wait and we are in discussion with the players who are asking for this and maybe in the budget session we will see what we can do but at this point of time it suffice to say that it is under discussion and there are some issues which we need to sort out before we can allow we can allow them but it should also be a success for that we want all the hurdles to be taken care of as of now there is no such thing but when the regulations and the rules come out we’ll get to know but at this point of time there is no such combustion that is that in your review with public sector banks at their performance what is your assessment of the successful schemes that you’ve announced for release for forward-hit company and borrowers [Music] were you satisfied with the kind of outreach especially for certain sections like when i’m looking for girls or tourists on one particular thing i would straight tell you on the hawkers in some regions we’ve had very good you know success in reaching out to as many possible and in some other areas it could be better is my understanding and in that a lot depends not just on the banks the local authorities would have recognized these hawkers in a particular street or a main street unless the recognition is given by the local authority the banks wouldn’t be in a position to extend the facility so there is a lot more interaction which is happening between the banks and the local authorities because it is the local authority who recognizes and identifies hawker in a particular area so in such cases where there are a bit of a work yet to be completed by the local bodies we are waiting for them to do it but otherwise where these details are available for kyc’s purpose yes it’s moving on fast but diversity would you want to add more in fact the scheme is doing very well more than 26 lakh disbursements have happened and about 29 to 30 lakhs have been sanctioned the the high point in the scheme is that they are all as vans said they are registered with the urban local bodies so the vendors the whereabouts are known number two they are getting onboarded electronically also so that if they want they are selling their produce or they are selling the stuff then they can pay through a qr code so these are two main features of this scheme and more than two thousand five hundred crores uh six thousand two thousand six hundred pros have already been dispersed so it’s moving on very steadily and it’s making good progress well my question is a wider one do you think that for sectors which have been hit yeah your question was wider just one minute on the tourism guides tourism guide uh the the scheme is actually being designed by the ministry of tourism uh although the announcements have been made and necessary uh financial provisions have been made the moment the tourism ministry finalizes that the banks will be they are in a position to start the late day they too if you recall they too guides who have the central government’s identity cards as well as those who have identity cards given by the states are included in the program so there’s a need for coordination between the two but that will happen sooner so it’s actually not in the ground affected as yet that you announced earlier this week what is that [Music] um i’ll certainly have a response to that i wish the opposition questions with some homework done who actually monetized the mumbai pune corridor was it not the congress party was it not under the congress party which was headed by stream and is even now being headed by srimati sunya gandhi 8 000 odd crows was raised by that new delhi railway station who called for the rfp on it was it not the congress party somewhere between 2008 5 something like that new delhi railway station rfp call for was made 2710 2008 2008 who was the prime minister then who was the finance minister then and i would love i would definitely ask sri rahul gandhi who even when the prime minister was abroad when he thought one of the ordinances was so outrageous he tore it up in front of the media did he tear this rfp call for the new delhi railway station to be monetized did he tear this out if he indeed is against monetization why wasn’t the rfp for monetizing new delhi railway station torn to pieces by sri rahul gandhi is this not monetization and if this is monetization then did they sell off the railway new delhi railway station is it owned by g g now does he understand what is monetization and i took the pains even then for if i may now admit the sake of the former president of congress party because monetization may probably mean something to him that we are not selling off there will be a strict handing back i said it and i’m sure many in your media friends will remember that those were words which i had heard so congress party can every now and then come up with oh you’re selling off the country selling that’s something which they’re very good at they sold air they sold water they sold land they sold mines and made a lot of kick back with it from 2014 i challenge if there’s been even an allegation a whisper of allegation against prime minister modi’s government so to lead people to believe something which is not true to mislead people i can give you more examples examples of those asset monetizations which happen during congress period please ask him to take it all out and then explain it before you if that meant selling of those properties the monetization pipeline that was announced by me day before yesterday two days ago there is no change of ownership the ownership is still with government of india they are brown field assets which are almost completed but are under utilized if government has to utilize it better it has to be put through monetization process wherein it will be put to effective use with a bit more addition to spruce it up or to bring it up to the level of utilization so this is absolutely the obvious you in the media particularly those who handle the business and finance and everything else do understand it i am sure you will be able to ask the congress party about the way in when to in which they jump into conclusions and charge the government about oh you’re selling away everything which has been built 70 years over something like that he did say 70 years over they built and what did happen during the commonwealth games within one commonwealth games they finished all that which can be creamed out into the accounts of their cronies that is their business not the government of prime minister modis i would like to have him guide me [Music] can i do it in english are you okay see i would like to put some facts before you so that through you i can explain the situation you had during the budget a pub public enterprise policy announced wherein we had identified certain sectors as being strategically important strategic sectors and in them a bare minimum presence of the government will in any case be there always banks and financial institutions and insurance in it are identified as strategic sectors which means in insurance for instance the government’s minimum presence will be there life insurance general insurance and reinsuring agencies these are the three categories broadly in which insurance firms are there both in the private and in the public sector therefore if minimum presence is something which is as per policy got to be there i’ll obviously be present in lic i’ll obviously be present somewhere in general insurance and somewhat in the reinsurance also but over and above a bare minimum presence if there is a need for me to identify those which are there but probably not necessary for my bare minimum presence i’ll obviously think in terms of either you know amalgamating them or uh disinvesting in them and so on so you may say absolutely press conference
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Press Conference by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

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