Interim Budget: Chidambaram rejects argument of policy paralysis
Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday sought to present the UPA Government's growth record as 'unparalleled', and rejected the argument of policy paralysis.
Presenting the Interim Budget in the Lok Sabha, Chidambaram also outlined a vision for the future with ten major tasks that must be undertaken by the Government of the day.
Keeping the fiscal deficit at 4.1 percent of GDP and acceding to the long-pending demand of one rank one pension among defence personnel were other key highlights of the Interim Budget presented by him.
He also enumerated path-breaking decisions taken by the Government in 2013-14. These include decontrol of sugar, gradual correction of diesel prices, rationalization of railway fare, starting the process for issue of new bank licenses and restructuring of DISCOMS.
Asserting that the economy is more stable today than what it was two years ago, he said that the fiscal deficit is declining, the current account deficit has been contained, inflation has moderated, the quarterly growth rate is on the rise, the exchange rate is stable, exports have increased, and hundreds of projects have been unblocked.
Chidambaram stated that decline in GDP observed in the first quarter of 2013-14 will be arrested and the growth cycle will turn in the second quarter.
He expressed the confidence that growth in Q3 and Q4 of 2013-14 will be at least 5.2 percent.
He stated that the annual GDP growth in the last ten years of UPA Government has been above the growth rate of 6.2 percent for the last 33 years. While it was 8.4 percent during UPA-I, it was 6.6 percent during UPA-II.
The Interim Budget estimates the plan expenditure in 2014-15 at Rs. 555,322 crore, almost the same as in the previous year. The non-plan expenditure has been raised slightly to Rs. 12,07,892 crore. Fiscal deficit for 2013-14 is likely to be contained at 4.6 percent of GDP and for 2014-15 at 4.1 percent.
(Posted on 17-02-2014)