Expect States to fully tap ₹1-lakh crore loan corpus: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Centre is open to considering States’ own priority projects to avail of funds from the ₹1,00,000 crore interest-free, 50-year loan, even if they don’t strictly fall under the focus areas specified in the latest Union Budget.

“We’ll accept any project but more so, if they are all within the broad framework of PM Gati Shakti that seeks to make sure that every project will have optimum utilisation of the context,” she said to a query from The Hindu. “If I want an airport in my constituency, are there industries or residents around it, is there some economic activity going on,” she said, indicating that there must be some economic rationale and synergy for such projects to be considered.

As per the Budget, the loans could be availed of for projects related to the PM Gati Shakti programme, digitising the economy, building rural roads and reforms relating to urban transit, building laws and town planning.

“States can have some priority and that is what we have left to the States because one-size-fits-all doesn’t work. Every State has its own needs. While one may need ropeways, that may not work in other States,” she explained, adding that climate-related and green energy projects will also be permitted.The Minister exuded confidence that States would use the entire ₹1-lakh crore corpus. “States have very good capacity to execute such projects. The ₹10,000 crore we had offered with similar conditions in this year, we raised it to ₹15,000 crore as the response was so good,” she said.

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