With spending by the central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) slowing,Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman on Tuesday asked secretaries concerned to ensure that half of the budgeted expenditure is incurred by the second quarter of the current financial year to help the economy recover.

The 23 key CPSEs spent 12 per cent of the budgeted expenditure in the first quarter of the current financial year, as against 16 per cent a year ago, the finance ministry said. This means they will have to spend Rs 62,553 crore in the second quarter, three times the Rs 20,202 crore they spent in the first quarter of FY21.

These firms spent Rs 1.66 trillion in FY20, 101 per cent of budgeted target of Rs 1.65 trillion. The capex target for FY21 stands at Rs 1.65 trillion.

Reviewing the CPSEs’ performance, the FM said unresolved issues should be flagged immediately to the Department of Economic Affairs and Department of Public Enterprises for immediate solution.

The FM held a review meeting with managing directors of 23 CPSEs and secretaries of petroleum & natural gas, power, coal, mines, atomic energy secretaries on capital expenditure by the firms.

The secretaries and CPSEs raised concerns about the constraints imposed by Covid-19, such as shortage of manpower, delay in imports, delay in payments by distribution companies to NPCIL and NLC.

Sitharaman said extraordinary situations require extraordinary efforts.

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