This Article is From Mar 02, 2013

Many more steps to boost economy soon: Chidambaram

Many more steps to boost economy soon: Chidambaram
New Delhi:

Two days after presenting Union Budget 2013, that has been described at best as balanced and pragmatic and at worst as disappointing and lacking substance, Finance Minister P Chidambaram spoke to NDTV's Vikram Chandra and Shweta Rajpal Kohli about the prospects for the Indian economy in the coming financial year (2013-14) and beyond.

Here are the highlights of the interview:
On the Budget's focus:
  • The Budget is not a one stop exercise
  • Have done a lot of things before the Budget and will do so hence forth
  • Many more decisions will be announced before the Debate on the Finance Bill
  • A lot of work has to be done post the Budget
  • Previously work on the Budget started only in June
  • The implementation process has to start from April and not wait till September
  • Can create the environment for the growth engine to re start
  • Don't think the corporate sector to expect the whole Budget to be devoted to them
  • Big bang announcements are not the way to create a Budget
  • Budget needs to focus on critical and crucial things
  • Growth doesn't need a big bang, but small critical steps to be taken
On Planned Expenditure:
  • Last year's Planned expenditure was too ambitious
  • Planned Expenditure was pegged at GDP growing at 7.5 per cent, while the GDP has grown by only 5 per cent
  • I am insisting that the spending begins from the April 1, 2014
  • Many ministries haven't spent even 75 per cent of what was allotted
On the Congress party:
  • There was no pressure from within the Congress party
  • Limited economic space and fiscal consolidation were the main focus
On Section 90A and clarifications:
  • Someone not well versed with the law lights a fire and the Finance Ministry has to fire-fight.
On retrospective amendment:
  • Unless we resolve the Vodafone case, I can't go to Parliament with the Amendment to the Retrospective clause
  • Cabinet might consider the Vodafone's conciliatory letter in the next meeting
  • A conciliation process takes lesser time than the arbitration process
On income tax and surcharge on income above Rs 1 crore per annum:
  • The purpose of mentioning the 42800 persons falling above the taxable income of Rs 1 cr or more was to shock
  • You cannot hide any one's income any longer
  • We have far too much data to find out an individual's income
  • There is no shame in earning a high income
  • There are chronic defaulters, habitual in hiding their income
On growth and whether growth target is too ambitious:
  • Savings rate in the worst year is 30 per cent
  • Given a savings rate of 30 per cent and an investment rate of 30 per cent and ICAR at 4.5 per cent we should get growth of 6 per cent
On Budget Session of Parliament :
  • I would be happy if the Insurance and Pension Bill can be passed in the Budget Session
  • We are confident that the Food Security and Land Acquisition Bill will be passed
  • The Lokpal Bill should also pass
  • Can't look at a perfect consensus in Parliament on any Bill
On interest rates:
  • When inflation is high the Central Bank has an obligation to tame inflation
  • The borrower looks at the nominal interest rate
  • When the trend line shows that the inflation is declining that one has to take some calculative risks
  • I think the time to take those risks came 2 months back
  • Am sure the Central Bank is watching what we are doing
  • Am confident that the Central Bank will take some action
On being projected as the PM:
  • I think I am reaching a point where I would like to conserve my life to do the things I would like to do
On global economy:
  • Can't really say that the worst is over for the World
  • We have begun the slow climb back to the mountain top
  • Europe and UK are still in recession
  • Italy is going through a tail-spin, Japan is stagnant
On General Elections:
  • Elections are 14 months away
  • Have laid the agenda for the next 12 months
  • Growth is a winner
  • There cannot be inclusiveness or development without growth
  • Inclusive growth is a winning mantra