The next budget needs to be carefully crafted to keep up the pace of growth, says FM Sitharaman


New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stressed that India’s next annual budget must be carefully planned in order to maintain the country’s pace of growth.

The Treasury Secretary answered a question about the upcoming year’s budget during her trip to Washington, DC to attend the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. The conversation took place at the prestigious Brookings Institute during a fireside chat with renowned economist Eshwar Prasad.

“Specifications (of the next budget) can be difficult at this stage because it’s a bit early. But by and large, growth priorities will remain absolutely at the top. Even when I’m talking about the concerns I have about inflation. Concerns about inflation must therefore be addressed. But then the natural question would be how would you manage the growth,” Sitharaman said.

FM Sitharaman is due to present India’s next annual budget to Parliament in February next year and planning for this is expected to begin in December.

“But that’s the point where you can be sure of how you’re going to be able to balance the two and be sure that the momentum that the Indian economy has pulled out of the pandemic and the momentum , with which it will continue to grow in the next year. Nor can the many multilateral institutions that are watching India be weakened,” she said.

“So again it has to be a very carefully structured budget where the growth momentum has to be maintained,” Sitharaman said.

Sitharaman is on a business trip in the USA. She will attend the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings, G20 Finance Ministers Meetings and Central Bank Governors Meetings (FMCBG) throughout her stay.

The finance minister will take part in bilateral talks with a number of nations including Germany, Mauritius, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Bhutan, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

The OECD, the European Commission and UNDP will all hold one-on-one meetings with the finance minister. In a high-level discussion, the Treasury Secretary will meet separately with David Malpass, President of the World Bank, and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to discuss issues of mutual concern.

She also explained that the center is negotiating with many nations to make Rupay acceptable in their countries.

“Not only that, UPI (Unified Payments Interface), BHIM app and NCPI (The National Payments Corporation of India) are all now being edited in a way that their systems may or may not be robust enough in their respective countries but speak to our system, and the interoperability itself will strengthen Indian know-how in these countries,” she said.

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