Will aim for reducing fiscal deficit and reviving manufacturing sector

The government will kick-start its first budget-making exercise on Monday under Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The Finance Ministry’s budget team has some broad guiding principles already. It includes steps to ensure rise in revenues without burdening taxpayers; greater efficiency in government expenditure to reduce fiscal deficit and revive the manufacturing sector.

“We will have about four weeks to prepare the budget,” high-level Ministry sources told The Hindu.

Mr. Jaitley will begin meeting industry and other representative groups on Monday to kick-start the exercise. Budget’s confidentiality-related access restrictions in North Block will also begin from Monday.

The UPA government’s interim budget had estimated interest payments on borrowings for its past expenditure will exhaust 43.3 per cent of the tax collections in 2014-15. Subsidies were estimated at Rs. 2,55,708 crore or 26 per cent of tax collections. These two spending heads along with pensions were estimated to account for 80 per cent of the Centre’s net tax revenues, leaving barely 20 per cent for governance and development.

Given this legacy, Mr. Jaitley will have to push revenues and control expenditure.

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