Infrastructure, social spending priority areas: FM
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Infrastructure, social spending priority areas: FM

Last Updated: Sunday, March 1, 2015, 20:48

Infrastructure, social spending priority areas: FM

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: The fiscal deficit of 3 percent will be met in three years instead of two, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in a post-Budget interview on Saturday.

"We wanted to increase social spending, and also develop infrastructure," said Jaitley. "So the target was moved to three years."

He said this year's target of 4.1 percent had not been met as it had been set by his predecessor P Chidambaram.

Jaitley said social spending was a key target of the government, and it took steps to increase social security by giving incentives to invest in pension funds and insurance. "Growing economies should raise social spending," he said.

At a time when other investment destinations, excluding the US, were not doing well, and competing economies were also hit, Jaitley said it was "India's chance to fly," for which it was necessary to put infrastructure into place.

"We saw high public private partnerships not working," said Jaitley. "We decided railways, highways and irrigation sectors can raise money through tax-free bonds."

To maximize household savings, Jaitley said gold bonds had been introduced to make an otherwise unproductive asset into a productive one. "Everyone has gold, even rural households, so we thought why not monetize it?" Jaitley said.

Jaitley said wealth tax has been abolished, as it was a high cost tax with low yields. However, he said the tax on the super-rich would now be met through surcharges.The finance minister said the general approach to subsidies was that they would remain, but leakages wouldn't be there.

"We have delinked oil and diesel subsidies already and the cash transfer for LPG has to be implemented. We need the wealth to relinquish subsidies," he said.

First Published: Saturday, February 28, 2015, 15:10

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