Speech of P. Chidambaram
Minister of Finance
February 17, 2014
I rise to present the Interim Budget for 2014-15.
The Current Economic Situation
2. As I prepared to write this speech, I found that whether it is a regular Budget for the full year or an interim Budget, some things remain the same. For example, our goals are the same and the global context is the same. As I said last year, we are not unaffected by what happens in the rest of the world. Since September 2008, the state of the world economy has been the most decisive factor impacting the fortunes of every developing country. Hence, it is pertinent to say a few words on the global economy as well as on the global risks.
3. World economic growth was 3.9 percent in 2011, 3.1 percent in 2012 and 3.0 percent in 2013. Those numbers tell the story. Among India's major trading partners, who are also the major sources of our foreign capital inflows, the United States has just recovered from a long recession; Japan's economy is responding to the stimulus; the Eurozone, as a whole, is reporting a growth of 0.2 percent; and China's growth has slowed from 9.3 percent in 2011 to 7.7 percent in 2013.
4. The Global Risks 2014 report has mapped 31 global risks. Of highest concern are ten risks that include fiscal crisis, structurally high unemployment or underemployment, income disparity, governance failure, food crisis, and political and social instability. The challenges that we face are common to all emerging economies. 2012 and 2013 were years of turbulence. Only a handful of countries were able to keep their head above the water, and among them was India. I shall presently give you an account of how we navigated the Indian economy through this turbulent period.
Challenges and Goals
5. Within days of my return to the Ministry of Finance, I had declared that our objectives were fiscal consolidation, price stability, self-sufficiency in food, reviving the growth cycle, enhancing investments, promoting manufacturing, encouraging exports, quickening the pace of implementation of projects, and finding practical solutions to certain stressed sectors such as petroleum, power, coal, highways and textiles.
STATE OF THE ECONOMY
The Twin Deficits and Inflation
6. Let me begin with the good news. The fiscal deficit for 2013-14 will be contained