New Delhi: Commending the efforts of Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday lauded the measures presented in the Budget, given the challenges faced by the economy.
“The FM has done a commendable job. India needs to create jobs for our vast growing labour force. To do that we need to accelerate our growth; a growth rate of 8 percent is needed to put us back on the path of fiscal consolidation,” he said.
“We have to get there, it is a difficult journey. But the Finance Minister has taken important steps in the direction.”
In his brief interview, Manmohan Singh stated that Chidambaram has formulated a roadmap, one that gives “plenty of fodder to every ministry”. “If India needs eight percent growth rate which is both inclusive and sustainable, it needs to convert challenges into opportunities,” he added.
On being asked if whether the opposition will support the measures which are to be introduced, the PM said, “There have been problems with regard to clearances, i.e., land acquisition problems and forest clearance. Many of these are responsibilities of state governments....whatever is the liability of the central government; we will ensure that any road blocks from our side will be taken care of.”
On the question of bureaucracy to be on board the growth plan, the PM said that Chidambaram speaks on behalf of the Cabinet. “The government must put its act together if sustainable, equitable and inclusive growth is to be aimed for. If the general sentiment is consent, the growth, too, will be in the right direction.
“If India achieves 8 percent, the youth will benefit, young men and women will find better employment opportunities.”
With the current economic situation wailing, Manmohan Singh identified three barriers that inhibit growth and impair the economy, namely — fiscal deficit, inflation and current account deficit — of the three, the Prime Minister believed that CAD (Current Account Deficit) needed to be brought down.
“We have a CAD of US 75 billion, therefore we must reduce import of iron, gold so that the burden on the economy is substantially reduced,” he said.
In one of the most highly awaited Budgets of recent years, Chidambaram has announced a bigger-than-expected expenditure layout for the coming fiscal year; but asked the country to make some tough spending choices.