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Report card every quarter

New Delhi, July 29: The government plans to come out with a quarterly review of the economy with the first one to be presented before the end of the monsoon session, finance minister Jaswant Singh said.

The review will cover aspects like revenue generation and expenditure details and also indicate the levels of deficits, he said.

The finance minister's statement came at the end of a two-day debate on the Fiscal Responsibility Budget Management (FRBM) Bill which was passed by Parliament today.

Singh admitted that the bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha in the budget session, had watered down the stringent provisions that had been proposed earlier to put a leash on government expenditure.

The finance minister said there would be no lowering of developmental expenditure and fiscal deficit would be contained through revenue mop-up and expenditure control.

The bill stipulates that the revenue deficit would be brought down to zero level and fiscal deficit to 2 per cent in five years by 2008 to bring about fiscal consolidation. The bill, which was first introduced in 2001, was approved by Parliament after incorporating most of the recommendations of the standing committee on finance.

Singh also said the government would pre-pay Rs 7,500 crore worth of bilateral aid this fiscal and swap over Rs 38,000 crore high-cost state government debts.

Equity shares

The government today decided to permit issue of equity shares against lumpsum fee, royalty and external commercial borrowings in convertible foreign currency due for payment as yet another step towards capital account convertibility.

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