Govt Be­lieves in Cre­at­ing As­sets, not Doles, says Das

The Economic Times - - Front Page -

New Delhi: The gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to fis­cal pru­dence and would rather in­vest in cre­at­ing pro­duc­tive as­sets that will help al­le­vi­ate poverty than re­sort to give­aways, said eco­nomic af­fairs sec­re­tary Shak­tikanta Das.

“In­stead of giv­ing out doles, the gov­ern­ment be­lieves in spend­ing that money in pro­duc­tive sec­tors like in­fra­struc­ture, con­sist­ing of let’s say the rail­ways, the roads or ir­ri­ga­tion,” said Das, one of the key ar­chi­tects of the Bud­get that was un­veiled on Wed­nes­day by FM Jait­ley. “Pro­duc­tive ex­pen­di­ture has a mul­ti­plier ef­fect to cre­ate more em­ploy- ment op­por­tu­nity and aug­ment growth. If you have to pull peo­ple out of poverty, then you need to cre­ate pro­duc­tive as­sets, cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment where there will be more job op­por­tu­ni­ties.” With cash hav­ing flooded into the bank­ing sys­tem fol­low­ing de­mon­eti­sa­tion, he an­tic­i­pates bor­row­ing costs will de­cline, a devel­op­ment that should re­vive flag­ging in­vest­ment and act as a growth booster. “We are look­ing for­ward to a regime of low in­ter­est rates, suf­fi­cient liq­uid­ity in the bank­ing sys­tem thanks to de­mon­eti­sa­tion, and also now gov­ern­ment open mar­ket bor­row­ing has been re­duced,” Das said.

Again, the ten­der spec­i­fies min­i­mum op­er­at­ing al­ti­tude of 41,000 feet, an un­usual re­quire­ment given that most chief min­is­ters use state air- craft for short-haul fly­ing.

The ten­der also says the air­craft must not be older than 15 years, which is un­usual in a dif­fer­ent way. Most air­craft for VIP travel that are bought or leased are less than 5 years old or new.

The state gov­ern­ment did not re­spond to ET queries de­spite sev­eral re­minders. Queries were emailed to Ari­jit Ban­er­jee, sec­re­tary-in­for­ma­tion and pub­lic re­la­tions, Ra­jasthan gov­ern­ment, and to PK Goyal, the state’s prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary, civil avi­a­tion.

Ban­er­jee told ET to di­rect its queries only to the “rel­e­vant depart­ment”. Goyal did not re­spond to emailed queries or text mes­sages.

Deepshikha Sikar­war & Vi­nay Pandey

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