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acknowledge that the Indian economy is challenged, but I am absolutely confident that, with your cooperation, we will get out of the trough and get on to the high growth path. I shall now outline our plans and priorities.
7. Our goal is ‘higher growth leading to inclusive and sustainable development’. That is the mool mantra.
8. Growth is a necessary condition and we must unhesitatingly embrace growth as the highest goal. It is growth that will lead to inclusive development, without growth there will be neither development nor inclusiveness. However, I may sound a note of caution. Owing to the plurality and diversity of India, and centuries of neglect, discrimination and deprivation, many sections of the people will be left behind if we do not pay special attention to them. As Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel prize-winning economist, said, “There is a compelling moral case for equity; but it is also necessary if there is to be sustained growth. A country’s most important resource is its people.” We have examples of States growing at a fast rate, but leaving behind women, the scheduled castes, the scheduled tribes, the minorities, and some backward classes. The UPA does not accept that model. The UPA Government believes in inclusive development, with emphasis on improving human development indicators. I hope this Budget will be yet another testimony to that commitment.
Fiscal Deficit, Current Account Deficit and Inflation
9. The purpose of a Budget – and the job of a Finance Minister – is to create the economic space and find the resources to achieve the socio economic objectives. At present, the economic space is constrained because of a high fiscal deficit; reliance on foreign inflows to finance the current account deficit; lower savings and lower investment; a tight monetary policy to contain inflation; and strong external headwinds. During the course of my speech, I shall spell out measures that will address each of these issues.
10. In September, 2012, Government accepted the main recommendations of the Dr. Vijay Kelkar Committee. A new fiscal consolidation path was