Budget only beginning, I did whatever I could do: Arun Jaitley

Jul 13 2014, 15:41 IST
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Arun Jaitley has said this was beginning of journey and he did all he could do under the given circumstances. Arun Jaitley has said this was beginning of journey and he did all he could do under the given circumstances.
SummaryArun Jaitley has said this was beginning of journey and he did all he could do under the given circumstances.

the economy... I have looked at unresolved issues that they (UPA government) left behind or the problems they have left behind," he said, adding in the period of 45 days he has tried to address most of these problems.

The Budget proposed restricting fiscal deficit this year to 4.1 per cent of GDP and bring it down to 3 per cent by 2016-17. This is in line with the roadmap laid out by the UPA government.

Later in an interview to Karan Thapar for 'Headlines Today', Jaitley said the two challenges he faces in achieving the "daunting" fiscal deficit target of 4.1 per cent in 2014-15 is monsoon and global oil prices, which are outside the control of government.

"It (monsoon failure) will affect us...we are cautious about it. Therefore, when I said I accepted 4.1 per cent, I knew it's a daunting challenge, so I have not said that I will achieve it. I will take up the challenge and I will endeavour to achieve it," he said.

"At the moment, oil prices are moderating. I can't predict what will happen 15 days from now. As far as monsoon is concerned, it's too early to write it off completely. So let's wait for a couple weeks. Even if we have weak monsoon, India has lots of food stock," he said.

Improving investor sentiment will spur manufacturing and tax buoyancy, he said.

"My challenge for 4.1 per cent is that either I cut down my expenditure as my predecessor did or I let the growth rate go up so that economic activity expands," he said.

"I am consciously choosing the latter and therefore I am trying to improve the investment environment in the country. I am trying to improve environment under which manufacturing can grow and if we grow in those areas and achieve a certain level of growth then tax buoyancy would take us to a situation where we can perhaps achieve 4.1 per cent," he said.

The Finance Minister said that he is confident of going back to 8 per cent growth during his tenure.

"I have indicated that the intention is over next 2-3 year to get back to the (high growth path) road...I hope 8 per cent growth would happen in this tenure. I am reasonably confident," he said.

The growth rate in the past two financial years have slipped to sub-5 per cent.

On reforms,

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