State Bank of India (SBI) chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya, while discussing Budget 2015, said she expects Finance Minster Arun Jaitley to announce major infrastructure projects to help get the government spending gather pace.
She noted that the upcoming Budget should provide relief to state-owned banks struggling over increasing bad loans and the poor credit offtake.
"Either from the government side or from the PSU side we definitely would like to see some of those (projects) announcements in the Budget," the SBI chairperson told NDTV.
While new projects alone may not be enough to further credit growth, it could possibly be better than the previous quarter. Bhattacharya expects much of the credit growth to happen after two quarters.
She noted the ongoing coal and spectrum auction to trigger a major credit offtake, allowing a follow-on effect with the other branches of the economy.
Even as talk concentrates around new projects driving up demand for loans, the private sector is already saddled with heavy debts, which their balance sheets are unlikely to support, limiting the possibility of the sector driving credit offtake in the immediate future.
Economists, in India and abroad, believe that the Finance Minister will increase government spending to return the economy on the path of sustainable growth; however, they are divided on how the growth is to be achieved. Some economists want the finance minister to spend more, even allowing fiscal deficit to widen, others call on government subsidies to be reduced, in order to allow for a boost in spending.
"Some amount of spending must start for the economy to start rolling again," said the SBI chairperson.
Bhattacharya added that the Budget should encourage small depositors to increase their savings, adding that the government should promote cashless transactions over cash.