Right after presenting the Budget that aims to contain subsidies and expedite reforms, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that while formulating the budget, moderating inflation and fiscal consolidation were the key areas of focus.
While the budget was made keeping in mind the future, bringing the economy to the growth path, curbing inflation and fiscal consolidation were Pranab-da’s biggest constraints.
In an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18, Mukherjee admitted that preparing the Union Budget of 2012-2013 was a “difficult tightrope task”, but was aimed at ensuring growth and stability.
Talking about the latest political development that happened too close to the Budget, an uncertain global scenario and impediments to the domestic economy, Mukherjee said that he has made an effort to empahsise on a domestic demand driven growth strategy.
The FM didnot give any timeframe for rolling out the goods and services tax but said progress has been made on the issue. He explained that indirect taxes have been hiked to allign it with the proposed GST rate, but said the latter needs a consensus, no matter how painsticking it maybe.
He added that the government is currently working on additional resource mobilisation and aims to cut expenditures to offset the rising crude oil prices. On the subsidy front, the FM said that the issue can only be addressed collectively. “When and how it is a matter to be decided. But I am also going to address it to the political establishment of the country. Continous efforts are needed and we have to do that.”
He also said that if he wanted to , he could have increased the excise duty to the pre-Lehman crisis levels of 14 percent, but chose to only hike it by 2 percentage points.