Arun Jaitley: Fiscal discipline required to put economy back on track

Jun 16 2014, 01:20 IST
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Defence minister Arun Jaitley with Chief of Army Staff Gen Bikram Singh after a meeting in Srinagar on Sunday (Photo: PTI) Defence minister Arun Jaitley with Chief of Army Staff Gen Bikram Singh after a meeting in Srinagar on Sunday (Photo: PTI)
Summary'Any kind of fiscal indiscipline at this stage will put us in further doldrums'

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said fiscal disciplining is required to put the economy back on track as India has witnessed two successive years of sub-five per cent growth.

“At this time, you will require to take some decisions to make sure that the economy is put back on the track,” Jaitley, who is on a two-day visit to Kashmir for security review meetings as defence minister, told reporters.

The finance minister said that initial amount of fiscal disciplining would enable India and its people to enjoy fruit of a sounder economy at a subsequent stage.

“But any kind of fiscal indiscipline at this stage will put us in further doldrums,” he added.

Jaitely said the situation on the economic front was challenging.

“We had two continuous years of less than 5% growth. You had higher level of inflation. Your tax buoyancy has come down,” he said.

Asked to elaborate on the steps he intends to take, Jaitley replied: “You certainly don’t want me to make budget announcement here.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Saturday warned of “tough decisions” over the next couple of years to improve the country’s financial health, which he said may not go down well with some sections, and attacked the way the previous UPA government had handled the economy.

“Taking tough decisions and strong measures in the coming one or two years are needed to bring financial discipline which will restore and boost the country’s self-confidence”, he had said addressing the BJP workers in Mumbai.

India’s economic growth remained below the 5% mark at 4.7% in 2013-14. It remained subdued at 4.6% in the fourth quarter of 2013-14 and during the entire fiscal, mainly due to a decline in manufacturing and mining output. The country’s economy, or gross domestic product (GDP), had expanded at 4.5% in 2012-13, the slowest pace in the previous decade.

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