No plans to cut funds for states: Nirmala Sitharaman

ANI New Delhi, India Feb 08, 2020, 10.51 PM(IST)

Nirmala Sitharaman Photograph:( Reuters )

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Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar, who was also present on the occasion, said that helping agriculture in the country was one of the main focuses of the Union Budget.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said the Centre has no plan to decrease the funds for the states.

"We have no plan to cut the funds for states. We are already giving what the 14th Finance Commission recommended. Now, we will fully honour the report of 15th Finance Commission," Sitharaman said at a press conference.

"We will soon return the share of GST to Tamil Nadu in two instalments," she added.

Regarding the payments to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, the Finance Minister said: "During September, October, and November, we worked hard to ensure the payments to them are cleared. Nearly 60 per cent of the amount, which was pending, has been cleared."

Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar, who was also present on the occasion, said that helping agriculture in the country was one of the main focuses of the Union Budget.

"There is a total allocation of Rs 2.83 lakh crore for the agriculture sector. This covers water-deficient districts and others. Over and above, there is an agriculture credit of Rs 15 lakh crore, which is an increase from Rs 12 lakh crore, which was given earlier," said Kumar.

Sitharaman said that a similar interaction will be held in Kolkata on Sunday too, which will be followed by a few others in other cities.

The conferences are being held by the Finance Minister with her subordinates to hold talks with representatives of industries and other sectors, seeking their opinions on the Budget.