Budget 2013: India to put investors before voters in pre-election year
Aides to P. Chidambaram said the eloquent Harvard-educated lawyer finally convinced leaders of his Congress party that more profligate spending would make a sovereign rating downgrade to 'junk' status inevitable and could trigger an economic meltdown.
In pushing for austerity, officials said Chidambaram met no opposition from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - architect of the 1991 economic reforms that led to the "Incredible India" story - or from the welfare-minded leader of the Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, pointing to increasing acceptance of the depth of India's economic problems.
"He wants to send out a credible and strong signal that India is on the right track," said one senior official privy to the secrecy-shrouded preparations for the 2013/14 budget. "He apprehends that yet another failure to honour fiscal commitments could end the India story."
Chidambaram has staked his reputation on meeting deficit cutting targets, embarking last month on a road show of financial centres where he sought to reassure foreign investors that India was serious about getting its fiscal house in order.
Several officials involved in budget planning told Reuters that tackling the bloated fiscal deficit will be the centrepiece of Chidambaram's presentation to parliament on Thursday.
They said his budget has also been crafted to avoid unnerving investors, who were dismayed last year by plans to tax merger
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