Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Budget preparation begins amid shaky economic ground; what did 5 Finmin secretaries discuss on Monday?

Finance Ministry secretaries discuss about economy, budget
A DAY before Prime Minister’s meeting on global economic scenario with captains of industry including Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani, Tata group chairman Cyrus Mistry and Airtel group chairman Sunil Mittal, RBI Governor, top government officials, bankers and leading economists etc. today at his residence in 7 Race Course Road, the finance ministry on Monday had an all-secretary meeting. Chaired by newly-designated finance secretary and 1978 batch IAS Ratan P Watal (who is also in charge of expenditure department), the meeting took stock of the present economic crisis and discussed about creating a mechanism of better co-ordination among five departments belonging to the finance ministry, as the preparation of the next General Budget, to be presented in February 2016, had actually begun. Now, such meetings involving all five finance ministry departments will be held on…
a regular basis, and to begin with, on weekly basis, according to a statement issued by the ministry of finance on Monday.
The North Block's Monday meeting was attended among others by DEA secretary and 1980 batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS Shaktikanta Das, revenue secretary and 1981 batch Gujarat cadre IAS Hasmukh Adhia, financial services secretary and 1981 batch Punjab cadre IAS Ms Anjuly Chib Duggal, disinvestment secretary and 1980 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre IAS Ms Aradhana Johri and chief economic adviser (CEA) Arvind Subramanian. Significantly, the ministry of finance recently witnessed a major secretary-level reshuffle under which Das was shifted from the department of revenue to DEA, Adhia from financial services to revenue and Ms Duggal was brought in to North Block as secretary, department of financial services.
But what the five secretaries and chief economic adviser actually discussed ahead of the PM’s meet with industry honchos? Let’s know it from one of the secretaries himself. “Had meeting of all Secretaries in Finance Ministry. Took stock of economic and fiscal situation, policy issues, budget preparation, etc”, DEA secretary Shaktikanta Das posted it in a social media site the moment after the meeting on Monday.
The meeting also assumes significance in the backdrop of the China-anchored global economic crisis which has impacted the Indian markets as well. Many a prominent investors pulled out their investments from the Indian market citing lack on deliveries. India Inc is also concerned about the slow pace economic reforms and the way Goods and Services Tax Bill found itself in the logjam of Parliamentary politics.
The PM on June 30 had also met with captains of Indian industry to discuss about the economy.

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