Arun Jaitley on Thursday scotched rumours that the upcoming interim Budget could turn out to be fiscally expansionary despite repeated assertions to the contrary, reports fe Bureau in Mumbai. Addressing a gathering of industry leaders in Mumbai via video conference from New York that allayed apprehensions over his 'ill-health', Jaitley dropped enough hints that the widely reported farmers' package could feature in the Budget. A few reports had suggested he might not present the interim budget as scheduled on February 1 due to heath issues. \u201cThe efforts are to move on the (fiscal) glide path unless an unusual situation arises,\u201d he said, but hinted that exercise may not be devoid of some big-ticket announcements that \u201ccan't wait,\u201d he said. "The larger interest of the nation dictates what will be a part of the interim Budget," he said. \u201cFarm sector has been facing challenges. Prices have fallen. Food product prices have gone down,\u201d he said. Markets, he said, would understand the government\u2019s approach is rational, not populist. The finance minister acknowledged the inadequacy of 7-7.5% annual GDP growth to meet people\u2019s aspirations and sought to lift it above 8% through more reforms in areas like agriculture and infrastructure, in an indication of the government\u2019s likely focus in the interim Budget, and beyond should it get re-elected. The minister refrained from seeking a rate cut by the Monetary Policy Committee (slated to meet in early February) but added that the country\u2019s real interest rates must not remain among the highest in the world. \u201cFiscal prudence (and) consolidation is always rewarded and we have stuck to fiscal prudence. In exceptional situations like last year when we received GST collections for (only) 11 months, we had deviated a bit to 3.5% from target of 3.2%,\u201d the minister said. The government last year proposed to meet the 3% fiscal deficit target-which was supposed to be achieved in FY19 \u2014 in only FY21. Speaking on the threat of Opposition unity and the ruling coalition's prospects at the hustings, Jaitley said, \u201cAs we go to the general elections, India needs to have a continuity of policies, stability and decisiveness.\u201d According to him, the government has succeeded in restoring credibility of the economy and its decision making process over last few years. Also read:\u00a0Jet Airways shares reverse losses, up 9% after SBI statement on the resolution plan The minister refrained from seeking a rate cut by the Monetary Policy Committee (slated to meet in early February) but added that the country\u2019s real interest rates must not remain among the highest in the world. The government is reportedly considering an income support scheme for farmers at the national level, in what could largely be modelled on a few state-level initiatives in this regard, like Telangana's Ryhthu Bandu and Odisha's Kalia.