On Rahul Gandhi, FM P Chidambaram hints PM Manmohan Singh's time is up

Oct 09 2013, 21:16 IST
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Chidambaram said the economic downturn was no reason to think that his Congress party. Reuters Chidambaram said the economic downturn was no reason to think that his Congress party. Reuters
SummaryChidambaram dismissive of Narendra Modi vis a vis Rahul Gandhi's chances at the hustings.

fuel and food subsidies must be tackled sooner rather than later as part of a series of steps to stabilise the economy. India imports nearly 80 percent of its oil needs and the rupee's drop has made government fuel subsidies more costly.

"On the government side, sooner (rather) than later we will have to address the issue of higher subsidies than budgeted, on both fuel and food," he said.

Last month, the government shied away from raising diesel prices by close to 10 percent to offset the financial damage Of the weaker rupee. Oil subsidies are now estimated at more than 900 billion rupees ($14.5 billion) - nearly 40 percent more than budgeted - for the current fiscal year.

The finance minister is unlikely to announce sweeping spending cuts, but he said he may rein in spending by some large government departments and would rigidly enforce rules that make it hard for ministries to fully utilise designated funds.

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