Budget is very innovative, creative and smart: Amitabh Kant

New Delhi :Commending the Budget for 2016-17 for its focus on agriculture and infra sectors, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant today said the annual financial statement is very innovative, creative and smart.

“Budget has been a very innovative and creative and a very smart budget. It has provided huge thrust to agriculture sector… an impetus to infrastructure. Allocation for social sector like health has gone up,” Kant said in a hackathon.

He added that about Rs 97,000 crore has been allocated for roads and another over a Rs 1 lkah crore for the Railways. This will give a huge impetus for demand in rural areas.

“It is necessary because in the last 8-10 months there has been a slowdown in demand in rural areas and this will spur area at the time going for asset creation,” Kant said.

He stressed that states need to become the key driver of growth in India and it is a tripartite partnership between the Centre, States and financial institutions that will help in achieving this.

On Niti Aayog’s role, he said it is the institution for transforming India and the key to this is the social sector.

“It’s about education and health. It’s very important to focus on infrastructure schemes. These schemes need to be closely monitored and evaluated. Niti Aayog will work together with the Departments and above all it has to work with the states to keep the momentum,” he added.

To grow fast India needs 10-12 champion states, which grow at 12 per cent plus, he said adding “If you have that there is no doubt why India will not grow at 9-10 per cent over 30 year period.”

In the current budget, Niti Aayog has been given two important responsibilities. One is about giving a huge drive for the disinvestment process as it is important for the government to mobilise resources. It needs to be assured that the government can disinvest in areas it invested earlier to be able to invest in social sector, he said.

“There is a very ambitious scheme of ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’ and it is about converging and integrate to drive India’s soft power through departments and states. Niti Aayog has to monitor and evaluate schemes implemented on the ground. It has to name and shame departments and states who are not performing,” he added.

Kant said India’s FDI has grown by 48 per cent, while globally it has come down by 16 per cent.

He said Indian companies have invested and that is why growth in the manufacturing sector has gone up from 1.7 per cent to 12.6 per cent.

“But everyone must understand that there are capacities which have been created by several India companies. You need demand to pick up, because there are constraints on liquidity and it is important to create liquidity in the Indian market.

“And, then certain Indian companies and banks have been overstretched and we need to set that right. It will take the country around 7-8 months to set it right. But, I’m absolutely certain that in the long run India will be run by Indian companies and not foreign companies,” he added.