Economy on track, more reform measures in the offing: Chidambaram

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 25 2013, 14:35pm hrs
ChidambaramRuling out early elections, Chidambaram said the government would complete term. (Reuters)
Indicating that there would be no let up in the governments reform action, finance minister P Chidambaram said on Wednesday the government will take more executive actions in the next two to four months.

Ruling out early elections, Chidambaram said the government would complete term or 13 more months and would continue to take significant steps to ensure that the country achieves its potential growth rate of 8 per cent.

There is much more to be done. The remaining bills have to be passed. There are many more executive actions that have to be taken... Some of these are executive actions which we will take in the next 2-4 months... We will continue to take small significant steps. We will also take forward some big ideas. Indias economy will continue to reform, Chidambaram said while addressing the India Summit 2013 organised by The Economist.

The Indian Express is a media partner to the event.

The minister sought cooperation of the Opposition BJP to ensure passage of the land, insurance and Goods and Services Tax (GST) bills in Parliament, saying the economic issues should be dealt in a bipartisan manner. We have listed the things we intend to do. We want the Land Bill passed; Insurance Bill passed with FDI at 49 per cent. I sincerely seek cooperation of principal Opposition party and other political parties. We want the regulator for coal sector, road sector in place; we want rail tariff authority in place to fix tariff in railway sector, he said. Chidambaram also assured the investors that he has drawn red lines and the fiscal deficit will be below the 4.8 per cent mark in 2013-14.

A number of measures have been taken...We are determined to go back to the path of fiscal consolidation...We have laid out a new path and I have said these are red lines. This will be never, never breached, he said. Going forward in 2013-14, fiscal deficit will be contained below 4.8 per cent of the GDP, he said. However, Chidambaram said that more important than controlling the fiscal deficit was to check the widening current account deficit (CAD). CAD is indeed high... (it) is more worrying than fiscal deficit. The satisfying aspect of this is that we have financed it completely without drawing down our reserves. There have been copious inflows, he added.

Speaking later at the event, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia indicated that the power projects that are scheduled to be completed by March 2015 are expected to have operational fuel supply agreement (FSAs) in place within two weeks. My expectation is that within two weeks we will essentially have a situation where we would be able to say that all projects (power) which are going to be completed by March 2015, will have (coal) fuel supply agreements, he said.

At another session, the Prime Ministers Economic Advisory panel chairman C Rangarajan said India has potential to grow at 8 per cent without fuelling inflation. If you are going to have a investment rate in the range of 32-35 per cent, I would still say 8 per cent growth rate is potential rate of growth in economy and it is possible to grow at that rate even without provoking high level of inflation, he said.

No aspiration to become PM

Mumbai: Finance minister P Chidambaram set aside rumours of his taking over as Prime Minister if the UPA were to come back to power, saying he has no such aspirations and would instead prefer doing party work for a change. I have no such expectations... I did not have enough opportunity to work at party level, except for brief period when I was general secretary of state Congress party. I want to prove that I can also do party work. I will love to do party work, but I would do whatever the party asks me to do... I sincerely hope the party will allow me to travel, read and write, he said.