Fiscal deficit target realistic: FM

A lot of consultation preceded ‘pragmatic’ Budget, she says

February 17, 2020 10:39 pm | Updated 10:39 pm IST - Bengaluru

Karnataka :  Bengaluru : 17/02/2020 : Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressing at a press Conference in Bengaluru on Monday.    Photo: G R N Somashekar

Karnataka : Bengaluru : 17/02/2020 : Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressing at a press Conference in Bengaluru on Monday. Photo: G R N Somashekar

The fiscal deficit mentioned in the budget proposal 2020-21 was ‘absolutely realistic’ in terms of the scope of revenue generation, scope of investments and projection for economic growth and consumption, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Addressing a media conference here on Friday, the Minister said, “We have been absolutely realistic with all the figures, that we can spend or borrow, presented in the budget. A fiscal deficit target of 3.5% for next fiscal is the real picture.”

On inflation, she said the government was hopeful. She cited the case of seasonal, perishable commodities which make up a significant size in the basket; except for seasonal fluctuation, prices of most goods, particularly food products, have been kept well within acceptable norms, she said.

Responding to a query on relief for telecom companies, Ms Sitharaman said the Telecom Ministry would decide on the payment of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) arrears by defaulting telecom firms, as recently directed by the Supreme Court. “The concerned Ministry has been engaging with telecom players since the court's ruling. I will wait to hear the Telecom Ministry’s decision.”

It may be recalled that Justice Arun Mishra-led bench on February 14 ordered Airtel and Vodafone Idea to pay their AGR dues immediately to avoid contempt of court.

‘Congenial environment’

Speaking at the fifth post-Budget interactive session, she said a lot of preparation and consultation had gone into drafting a pragmatic, forward-looking Budget, which was also designed to ensure a congenial environment for taxpayers.

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