Opposition should do homework before levelling allegations about National Monetisation Pipeline: Nirmala Sitharaman

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (Photo/ANI)
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (Photo/ANI)

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], August 25 (ANI): Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday targeted the opposition over its criticism of the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), saying it should have done its homework before questioning the Centre.

Sitharaman accused the opposition of misleading people.

"Congress was the one to monetize Mumbai-Pune corridor and New Delhi railway station. We are not selling anything. The opposition is misleading people by spreading something which is not true. Opposition should have done their homework before questioning the Centre," Sitharaman told reporters here.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had on Tuesday slammed the government over National Monetisation Pipeline, saying that "it is designed to create monopolies". He had also alleged that the BJP was selling "the crown jewels of this country". The CPI-M had also slammed the government over NMP, saying it "details the loot of national assets and infrastructure".

The Finance Minister said she has requested the public sector banks to have interaction with export promotion agencies at various regional levels as well as with chambers of commerce and industry so that "requirements of exporters can be timely well-addressed."

She said the nature of banking is also changing.

"We see even from industry inputs that people are able to raise finances even outside of the banking system," she said, adding that industries have recognised that they have avenues outside of the banks.

The minister said banks have also raised revenues from the markets.

Nirmala Sitharaman said the Finance Ministry has asked banks to identify sunrise sectors and extend their services to understand them." Banks should also look into the FinTech sector, as it requires assistance," she stated.

The Minister also expressed concern over credit development in eastern states like Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal and said it can be made better.

"CASA (Current Account Saving Account) deposits are piling up in the eastern states. Banks should give facility of greater credit expansion in that region. So the credit flow for business development in that region can be better promoted," Sitharaman said.

She said the government was paying interest for oil bonds issued during the UPA rule and its hands were tied.

"When the economy was doing well in the years 2006, 2007, and 2008 before the global crisis came, the government of that time was issuing oil bonds. We are paying back those bonds now and due to which our hands are tied," she said.

Terming it "trickery" by the UPA government, Sitharaman said if the economy was doing good at the time as claimed by the then government, "why did they issue oil bonds which they didn't even have to show in their budgets."

"If that government had released a white paper before leaving, all trickery would have come to the fore," she said. (ANI)

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