Montek expects a "good budget" from Chidambaram

Montek expects a New Delhi: Refusing to speculate on what Finance Minister P Chidambaram would do in his forthcoming budget to boost sagging economy, Plan panel deputy chief Montek Singh Ahluwalia Monday said it would be a good one.

"It's not a good idea to speculate on the budget. I am sure we will get a good budget," Ahluwalia told reporters on the sidelines of Abid Hussain Memorial Lecture here.

Chidambaram is scheduled to unveil the budget proposals for 2013-14 in the Lok Sabha on February 28 which among other things would endeavour to reduce fiscal deficit to 4.8 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and raise economic growth rate, which is estimated to fall to decade's low of 5 percent in current financial year.

Ahluwalia also had earlier said the growth in the current fiscal would be 5-5.5 percent but it could accelerate to as high as 7 percent in 2013-14 with appropriate efforts.

Chidambaram, he said, would be making the growth forecast for the next financial year in his budget speech.

"You know all these forecasts...Since the Finance Minister will be announcing their forecast in the Budget, I am not going to comment until we hear that," he said.

When asked about the possibility of rise in the Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) in 2013-14, Ahluwalia said,"...That (GBS) is the part of the budget. I will pronounce at length on GBS after the budget."

According to reports, the Finance Ministry has agreed to raise the GBS, which is the planned expenditure that is expended on government's social sector schemes such as Bharat Nirman, Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and National Rural Health Mission etc, by around 6 percent.

A large increase in GBS is not expected in view of the government's urgency to bring down the fiscal deficit to the committed level of 4.8 percent in 2013-14.

For the current fiscal, government had approved Rs 5.21 lakh crore towards GBS, up 18 percent than the budget estimate of Rs 4.41 crore for 2011-12.

PTI