Crucial for us to pursue reforms in financial sector: Pranab Mukherjee

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New Delhi, Nov 3 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said that it is crucial for the country to pursue reforms including in the financial sector, to make the economy more competitive and the economic regulatory and oversight system more efficient and ever sensitive to new developments.

Addressing the two-day Annual Economic Editors' Conference in the National Media Centre in the national capital, Mukherjee said that the recent spurt in growth has come about due to the significant increase in the growth of private investment, it is important to address issues that are holding back the revival of private investment in the economy.

"We have begun to address some of the issues in this context as you would have noted from the RBI's quarterly policy review. The efforts on fiscal consolidation and debt management and the mobilization of additional resources through disinvestment proceeds should help in this regard," Mukherjee said.

"We are also looking quite closely at steps to help curtail non-Plan expenditure, especially subsidies on fertilizer and petroleum products," he added.

The minister further said that the scarcity of public resources underlines the importance of making effective use of resources.

"Special attention is being paid to expenditure management with an emphasis on not just quantum, but quality of spending. On October 29, various Ministries through their Financial Advisers have been asked to cut down non-Plan expenditure, but ensure full and proper utilization of the Plan expenditure," Mukherjee said.

"Similar advice has also been given to the State Governments and UTs through their Finance Secretaries on October 28," he added.

He also said that both the Central and the State Governments need to focus on the issue, while efforts are underway to push Public Private Partnership mechanism, in the short and medium term, to new areas of economic and social infrastructure including health and education.

"Indeed, given the lags in the economy between specific actions and desired outcomes, it is important to initiate institutional reform measures in right earnest and set milestones for ourselves over the next five years. The release of the draft Direct Tax Code for discussion recently in one such step that we have taken," Mukherjee said.

"As substantial resources, both public and private, are mobilized to fuel the growth of the economy and make it more inclusive in character, there is a legitimate concern that every bit of the public effort should count and yield better results," he added. (ANI)

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