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Updated February 1st, 2024 at 17:37 IST

India on track to further narrow down fiscal deficit: Nirmala Sitharaman

PM Modi's 'direction-led dialogue' helped shape-up Budget 2024.

Business Desk
Nirmala Sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman | Image:Republic
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Narrowing fiscal deficit:  An ideal growth picture for the government is to see its people earn more, leading to higher consumption patterns and a boost to manufacturing, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Addressing the customary post-budget media briefing, Sitharaman said price stability and inflation management, have led to sustained growth. 

Sitharaman said 'One Nation One Tax' and the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) has helped streamline trade and commerce in the country. Citing a study indicating that 74 per cent of respondents, which comprised of traders from different parts of the country, have expressed satisfaction with the new tax regime. 

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Budgeting transparency 

On fiscal management, Sitharaman said the process of budgeting has become transparent. "We too second the process where everything is to be deliberated threadbare in the Budget," Sitharaman added. 

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The Finance Minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "disha nirdesh baatein" (direction-led dialogue) is a call for direction to India's economy to move towards being a world leader in different sectors such as manufacturing and services sector.  The existing fiscal deficit is much lower than the previous 5.9 per cent, Sitharaman said, adding that price stability and inflation management have led to sustained growth. 

Capex momentum 

Commenting on the much-anticipated announcement of a higher capex target, Sitharaman said the PM Modi-led government's efforts to ensure a double-digit growth in public sector capex is a step with larger growth objectives in mind.  "We are used to 13 per cent growth in capex on a low base. With 11.1 per cent growth and allocation of Rs 11.1 lakh crore on a high base at present, we are comfortably placed," said Sitharaman. 
Notably, while Rs 11.1 lakh crore earmarked for capex is an increase of 11.1 percent from the current year's Budget estimate, it is 16.9 percent higher than the revised estimate.
"Earlier when the private sector was hesitant for public spending, we kept the capex spending high, and even today when there are signs of the private sector opening up, the 11.1 per cent growth in capex outlay is an encouraging sign," Sitharaman added. 
The Centre was looking to spend Rs 10.01 lakh crore on capex in 2023-24. However, it has missed the target by Rs 50,715 crore, primarily due to lower-than-anticipated utilisation by states of the Capex loan scheme for them.

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Published February 1st, 2024 at 17:17 IST

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