New Delhi: The government will be able achieve the fiscal deficit target of 4.8 percent in the current financial year even if the Food Security programme is implemented this year, a top finance ministry official said Thursday.
"We are 100 percent certain that we will achieve the fiscal deficit target of 4.8 percent for the current fiscal. We had already factored in Rs 10,000 crore this year as additional cost and we don't think during the year if it (food security programme) has to be rolled out, there could be any slip up on that (fiscal deficit)," Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) Secretary Arvind Mayaram said.
"The finance minister has very clearly said there are red lines and fiscal deficit shall be maintained at 4.8 percent. It cannot be allowed to slip up and we will not permit it. That's for sure," Mayaram added.
Yesterday, the government had decided to issue an ordinance to give nation's two-third population the right to get 5 kgs of foodgrains every month per person at highly subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 per kg.
The Food Security programme when implemented will be the biggest in the world with the government spending an estimated Rs 1,25,000 crore annually on supply of about 62 million tonnes of rice, wheat and coarse cereals to 67 percent of the population.
The scheme is likely to take at least six months to cover the entire country.
The Cabinet, which had last month deferred a decision on the issue following differences within, had yesterday approved promulgation of an ordinance to implement the Food Security Bill.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram had allocated Rs 77,740 crore as food subsidy in the budget estimates for the current fiscal and kept Rs 10,000 crore over and above the normal food subsidy, towards the incremental cost.
First Published: Thursday, July 4, 2013, 19:34