Nirmala Sitharaman clarifies on budget in Chennai

Sticking to her promise of issuing clarifications on the budget presented in Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held an interactive session in Chennai.

Acknowledging that due subsidies were to be released; she said that the government will soon be releasing the subsidy amount. She also acknowledged that an amount worth Rs 4000 crore as GST tax collection was yet not received by the government. On Solar Pumps, she said that details of subsidy specifics will be detailed later.

She said her two hour plus budget speech days ago was inevitable since every aspect of the economy warranted a careful response and expressed regret for putting people to inconvenience.

The Minister, when asked if such a lengthy budget speech was warranted -which drove her to a point of exhaustion- something which was not seen in the past few decades, said it was needed. “It was needed. Definitely it was needed. I would have completed reading out the remaining portion after drinking water,” she said addressing a press conference.

Asserting that GST collections has exceeded Rs one lakh crore every
month in the last three months despite a dip in between, Nirmala Sitharaman said the government was taking a number of steps to plug loop holes in GST collections.

Talking to reporters after holding inter-active sessions with all stakeholders on the Budget, she said the Centre is taking up a number of steps to plug the loopholes in collections, particularly in areas where misuse or gaming of the system was happening.

Quotes from Tamil poets Thiruvalluvar and Avvayiyar, a Kashmiri verse and references to Saraswati-Sindhu civilisation peppered NIrmala Sitharaman’s 160- minute long marathon budget speech on February 1 which got cut short at the fag end after she felt unwell.
“Sorry. I agree, all of you were put to inconvenience. I don’t know if you thought (why) this lady was talking for about two and a half hours. But I had things to be spelt out and we have a duty to implement and we will do it,” she said.

Mentioning Chennai- Bangalore industrial project, the minister said that she was aware of contracts being scrapped and it was important to engage with states to see how honouring contracts have an impact on the country.