Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman defends deficit target

The minister was replying to a general discussion on the Union Budget 2019-20

  • Published 11.07.19, 12:03 AM
  • Updated 11.07.19, 12:06 AM
  • a min read
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Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Wednesday (PTI)

The government is committed to the path of fiscal consolidation without compromising on public expenditure, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

She said several steps, including enhancing investments in infrastructure, liberalisation of the foreign direct investment policy and lowering of corporate tax, are being taken to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25.

The minister was replying to a general discussion on the Union Budget 2019-20.

Several opposition parties led by the Congress walked out of the House demanding a roll back of the cess on petrol and diesel proposed in the budget , which they called an anti-people budget. Besides the Congress, the DMK, TMC, NC, and NCP walked out during the minister’s reply.

Sitharaman did not comment on the hike in petrol and diesel cess.

“The government is committed to the path of fiscal consolidation without compromising on the public expenditure placed by the various sectors,” she said.

The minister said the fiscal deficit in the regular budget for 2019-20 has been pegged at 3.3 per cent of the GDP against 3.4 per cent proposed in the interim budget presented in the House in February.

Sitharaman further said that all the data mentioned in the budget was authentic.

“I will assure the House there is no need for any speculation on figures given in the Budget and every number is authentic,” she said.

The minister said that economic growth and national security would be the focus of the government.

She said support amount for all schemes which have implications for common man had been increased.

“We will move the GST Council to reduce the GST rate on e-vehicles from 12 per cent to 5 per cent,” she said adding, “We will work with states for supplying tap water to all rural households by 2024”.

The minister said the government’s intention was to push infrastructure development and invest over Rs 100 lakh crore in the next five years. She added that the government had increased the minimum support price for all 22 commodities.

To boost investments, a five-member committee headed by the Prime Minister has been set up, she said.