Government will stick to fiscal target this year says Jaitley

Vastavam web: The government will stick to the 3.3 per cent fiscal deficit target in the current financial year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Friday. He also said India will clock a growth rate of 7-8 per cent despite global uncertainties and will retain the tag of the world’s fastest growing major economy. “Our ability to be within that 7-8 percent range is fairly certain though I see comments to the contrary but I am fairly certain. Jaitley said oil prices have a direct impact on India, since the country is a major importer. India, he said, has a particular resistance capacity to deal with rising crude oil prices and when it breaches the limit, it can impact inflation, currency and the current account deficit (CAD).

The CAD, which is the difference between the inflow and outflow of foreign exchange, widened to 2.9 per cent of GDP in the July-September quarter from 2.4 per cent of GDP in April-June. “When the global challenges stare us in the face, we want at least our internal domestic capacities be strengthened to put up our resistance. Indian economy is now fairly large for us to display a certain level of resilience not withstanding the adverse global trends, IMF forecast of slight slowdown. We still maintain our position as the fastest amongst the major economies in terms of growth,” the minister said.

“…You need a decisive leadership, you can’t have fragile coalitions because at the end of the day if one partner says I can pull down the government if you don’t declare my state as special status, then those worse off can even say why not me? And you would have half a dozen wanting a special status,” he said. He said a coalition government would lead to a situation where the country probably will have a helpless Centre dependent on these kind of players. “And what the founders of our nation envisaged that India, which is Bharat, which is a union of states, then ending up as a confederation of states and that is the last thing that India can afford.

“If you need policy clarity, you will need policy and directional stability and you will need a decisive leadership which moves in that direction which will then create an economy which is fast growing with various market reforms,” Jaitley said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September launched the Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana which aims to provide a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 10.74 crore poor families for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of empanelled health care providers. Jaitley said India has made good progress in rural development in the last four-and-half years.