DAINIK NATION BUREAU
The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has reviewed capital expenditure programme and status of dividend distribution of central public sector undertakings and authorities with the Secretaries of concerned Ministries/Departments and CMDs of major CPSEs, including Petroleum, Defence, Power, Road Transport, Railways, Coal, Mines, Steel, Atomic Energy.
In his address Jaitley stressed that the CPSEs may not only complete their budgeted capital expenditure but should also look to aggressively push capital expenditure in the interest of boosting investment in Indian economy. Secretaries/senior officers from the 10 Ministries and the CMDs/Directors (Finance) of the CPSUs apprised the Finance Minister that their capital expenditure programme for the current year are completely on track for achieving the capital expenditure of Rs. 3.85 lac crore budgeted in 2017-18. Some PSUs informed that they were planning to increase their capital expenditure programme, which in the aggregate, might be of the order of additional Rs. 25,000 crore. Appreciating the commitments of the Ministries and CPSUs, FM assured that the Government would make available adequate resources but no slackness under any circumstances would be acceptable. He indicated that the capital expenditure programme would again be reviewed at the end of November/early December.
During discussion it has revealed that most of the PSUs have very low or no debt on their balance sheet which is reflected in their low debt to equity ratios. CPSEs were, therefore, asked to raise more debt and not to rely entirely on cash and free reserves for finding new investments and capital expenditure. The CPSEs which have free reserves and surplus cash were asked to consider declaring liberal dividends so as to promote more productive use of such resources for financing much needed physical and social infrastructure. Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa advised the CPSEs to release outstanding payments expeditiously to help improve the liquidity in the market. Secretary, Economic Affairs advised the CPSEs to consider raising more resources through innovative financing arrangements like InvITs, ToT, monetization of assets, to undertake more projects of capital nature.