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Last Updated : Jan 18, 2019 05:22 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Govt working on some economic challenges that cannot afford to wait: FM Jaitley

Speaking at CNBC's annual India Business Leader Awards via video conferencing, Jaitley said he cannot go into specifics, because that would disclose the mind with which the Centre is working

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Two weeks before the Narendra Modi government presents its last budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that while conventionally an election year sees an interim budget, it's the economic situation of the country which dictates what goes into the Budget and that cannot be disclosed at this stage.

"If we look at the big picture there have been successes that we have seen in the last few years. There have also been challenges. Therefore, without getting into the specifics, because that would really be disclosing the mind with which we are working, some of those challenges cannot afford to wait," Jaitley said at the CNBC-TV18's annual India Business Leader Awards via video conference.

Media reports suggest that the Centre is considering various options to address the agricultural distress in the country, one of them is cash handout for farmers. The deliberation over this began after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was voted out in three key state elections in December.

Talking about the urgent need to uplift the farm sector, Jaitley said, "Whether it is a situation like a natural calamity or a drought or stress in a particular sector — these are all areas which cannot be considered any kind of populist expenditure. Markets will never understand if you act for the sake of populism," he said. "But if it is in the larger interest because of a compelling situation that develops, I think then it is a rational, logical thing, which markets will also understand."

If the government is planning to extend any relief to the farmers, it will impact India's fiscal deficit which has already reached 114.8 percent of the budgeted target in November. Experts say that the government may not be able to stick to its deficit target this year.

He said the government has always tried to avoid any fiscal slippage, as it has consequences for the currency, inflation, investments and the country's investment ratings.
First Published on Jan 18, 2019 10:24 am
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