Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today held a virtual meeting with all Chief Ministers and Finance Ministers of the States to discuss ways to create a reform-focused business climate and further facilitate investments to help boost growth. The virtual meeting was attended by Union Ministers of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary and Bhagwat Karad, besides Secretaries of Government of India line ministries, chief secretaries and finance secretaries of states. Union Minister sought a collaborative growth vision for the Nation and encouraged an open exchange of ideas centered on enhancing the investment climate of the country. She expressed hope that this interaction would help in creating a facilitative environment for investment led growth. She said that this would be possible by a proactive approach to investment promotion and efficiencies brought about by ‘Ease of doing Business’ reforms.Nirmala Sitharaman said that the economic growth has adversely been affected during the pandemic. She said that after the first quarter of the current fiscal, the economy has picked up again and green shots of recovery were now clearly visible. Projections of IMF and World Bank peg India’s GDP growth to about 9.5 percent and 8.3 percent respectively, as one of the fastest growing economies, she added.
While participating in the meeting virtually from Shimla, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur thanked the Union Government for providing free vaccines in the country adding that the State would have to spend about Rs. 500 crore to vaccinate its over 55 lakh eligible population. He said that in order to make the private sector partner in development, the State Government organized a 'Global Investor Meeting' in November, 2019 in which 703 MoUs worth Rs. 96,720 crore were signed. He said that ground breaking of 236 MoUs regarding projects worth Rs. 13,488 crore was signed within two months of the Meet.Chief Minister said that the State has made tremendous improvement in 'Ease of Doing Business' from improving the ranking from 17th position to 7th position. He said that the economy of the State was adversely affected during the pandemic. He said that during the pre-covid, the economy of State witnessed a growth of 4.9 percent which dropped down to minus 6.2 percent during the covid-19 times. He said that now this growth has gone upto 5.5 percent.Jai Ram Thakur said that the Union Ministry of Finance has given its in principle approval to Rs. 2095 crore ADB Tourism Infrastructure Development Project. He urged the Union Finance Minister to get this project approved from Screening Committee of Economic Affairs Department. He said that this would give much needed boost to tourism activities in the State.
Chief Minister also urged the Union Finance Minister for providing all possible assistance to the State for strengthening air connectivity in the State. He requested the Union Finance Minister to make a provision of about Rs. 3000 crore for construction of Greenfield Airport at Mandi in the next year's Union Budget. He also urged the Union Finance Minister to provide adequate funds for construction of National Highways in the State. He said that the Centre and the State Governments was bearing the cost of Bhanupalli-Bilaspur rail line in 75:25 ratio. Keeping in view the strategic importance of Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Leh railway line, he urged the Union Finance Minister that the Centre should bear the full expenditure of the proposed Railway line.Jai Ram Thakur said that the State has succeeded in harnessing about 10,948 MW power potential till date. He said that projects worth about 5497 MW had been allocated to the private sector for execution. He said that One Time Amnesty Scheme for giving a boost to the power sector has proved a boon to the power sector in the State. Additional Chief Secretary Industries R.D. Dhiman, Additional Chief Secretary Finance Prabodh Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary Excise and Taxation J.C. Sharma, Secretary Jal Shakti Vikas Labroo, Secretary Health and Horticulture Amitabh Avasthi, Advisor Planning Dr. Basu Sood and other officers also attended the meeting.