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FM: Panel set up to re-start 215 projects

Finance minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said a committee has been appointed to ‘identify and help’ re-start as many as 215 large projects worth over Rs 700,000 crore, which have been stalled for years and assured that each of these projects will be off the ground at the earliest. HT reports.

business Updated: Jun 06, 2013 21:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Finance minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said a committee has been appointed to ‘identify and help’ re-start as many as 215 large projects worth over Rs 700,000 crore, which have been stalled for years and assured that each of these projects will be off the ground at the earliest.

“I am happy to inform you that the prime minister today approved appointment of Anil Swarup from the Cabinet Secretariat as the head of a panel to identify and help restart large projects that have been stalled,” said Chidambaram in the annual general meeting of Indian Banks’ Association.

“I hope with this panel, which is likely to be constituted in a couple of days, we will be able to get these projects worth Rs 7 trillion identified and get started. Once these projects get started, we will see the results of them on investment in the remaining three quarters of this fiscal.”

Chidambaram also asked banks to pass on the RBI’s rate cut benefit to both retail and corporate borrowers. “In fact, the RBI has already cut the repo rate by 1.25 percentage points since early 2012, with commercial banks cutting rates by only 30 basis points over the period,” he said. “As CPI inflation and deposit rates fall, I would urge commercial banks to translate monetary policy to retail borrowers and firms through lower lending rates.”

Observing that food inflation is “still elevated”, the minister said he hoped it will ease with arrival of Rabi crops.

Finance minister also said that the government will be able to improve upon the fiscal deficit target of 4.8% in the current financial year without curtailing expenditure.

“I hope that with the drive to increase revenues and careful monitoring of expenditure, without compressing expenditure... we can not only achieve the fiscal deficit target of current year, we can better it,” he said.

Chidambaram said that the fiscal deficit of 4.9% of the GDP in 2012-13 was achieved by “very substantial” tightening in the second half of last year.

First Published: Jun 06, 2013 21:14 IST