Finance Minister NIrmala Sitharaman | Illustration: Moneycontrol
India has already started buying oil from Russia, since it has come at a discount at a time when the country needs it, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said.
"We have received quite a number of barrels. I would think about 3-4 days of (national) supply. I would put my country's national interest and energy security first," Sitharaman said at the 17th edition of the CNBC-TV18 India Business Leaders Awards. If fuel is available at a discount, why shouldn't India buy it, the finance minister stressed.
Sitharaman's comments come on a day when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is in New Delhi to discuss a range of issues, among which India's oil purchases from Russia, and a new proposed Rupee-Rouble trading mechanism, figure majorly.
However, Sitharaman said the global economic climate has been impacted by the Ukraine crisis and that she was entering the new financial year with 'cautious optimism'.
Sitharaman said her target for the new year remained on infrastructure spending. The government had increased capital expenditure by over 35 percent y-o-y, and a proposed infrastructure spend of over Rs 10 lakh crore in Budget 2022-23.
Domestic investment growth
Currently, three out of four growth engines are working, the Finance Minister said. While arguing that Indian businesses has taken the necessary steps to remain resilient in the Covid era, she called upon private industry to now begin ramping up investments so the domestic investment cycle can finally begin to roll forward.
"We just need that push. Collectively that sense of telling each other that we are moving forward, is happening. But when you sit together, you tell each other risk hai, iss saal toh nahi ho payega. I take that repeated example of Hanuman ji, that each one of you has got it in you. You are performing. Take steps to take that (performance) further," Sitharaman told a room full of corporate leaders present at the event.
"Indian Industry should have more belief in itself. It's thanks to you that we reached $400 billion export target," she told Sanjiv Bajaj, Managing Director of Bajaj Finserv. "I'm not making the commercial decisions. It's you who are making them. But I think, you now need to look at the way you have made those decisions to prove exports would not sit back and keep on going up," she added.