World Economy

India Fiscal Deficit No Cause for Concern

India Fiscal Deficit No Cause for ConcernIndia Fiscal Deficit No Cause for Concern

There is no cause for concern on fiscal deficit and the government will meet its target for the current fiscal despite certain challenges on the disinvestment front, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.

He also said that all efforts would be made to persuade opposition to allow the government to pass the Goods and Services Tax in the forthcoming winter session of parliament, PTI reported.

Jaitley, speaking at the India-Africa summit in New Delhi, to which all of the continent’s 54 countries have been invited, said the government is working on further easing of foreign direct investment norms by removing conditionals which may not be necessary in today’s context.

On fiscal deficit, he said: “I don’t think there are any concerns. . . I had consciously kept a very modest fiscal deficit target that is the movement from 4.1% which eventually became 4% to 3.9% (in 2015-16).

“The manner in which tax revenues and expenditure are moving, I don’t see there’s going to be any difficulty”.

Admitting that disinvestment is a challenge mainly on account of global problem, Jaitley said the “metal stocks are not doing particularly well, and metal was a large part of kitty that we had planned for this year. I don’t think it makes sense divesting at a time when prices are low”.

Government had budgeted to raise Rs 69,500 crore ($10.7 billion) through disinvestment in current fiscal year.

Jaitley further said the government is looking at further easing of FDI policy. India wants its economy to grow much faster, he said. “India today aspires to grow much faster. We are not satisfied with present growth rates.”

India has decided to set up a project development company in Africa, Jaitley said.

India’s annual trade with Africa has grown to $72 billion but lags China’s $200 billion.