New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Wednesday ruled out the possibility of early elections and said the government will take more reform initiatives in the next two-four months in a bid to boost economic growth and contain deficit and inflationary pressure.
“We will continue to take small significant steps. We will also take forward some big ideas. India’s economy will continue to reform,” Chidambaram said at The Economist’s India Summit organised here by the UK-based economic magazine.
Chidambaram said the government will push for the passage of major reform regulations, like land and insurance bills, in the ongoing budget session of parliament.
The finance minister said the government would need support from the main opposition party to get the bills passed in parliament.
“There are many more executive actions that have to be taken, some of these executive actions we will take in the next 2-4 months,” Chidambaram said.
In the last one year, the government has taken several initiatives to push forward reform process. The steps include cutting subsidies on petroleum products and liberalising overseas investment norms for retail, aviation and some other sectors.
The finance minister said he was hopeful to keep fiscal deficit below 4.8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the current financial year.
In the union budget presented in February, Chidambaram set a target keeping the fiscal deficit at 4.8 percent of the GDP.
He said the budgetary target was a red line that would “never, never be breached.” The fiscal deficit of the centre for 2012-13 is estimated to be 5.2 percent of the GDP.
Referring to the high current account deficit (CAD), Chidambaram said it was more worrying than the fiscal deficit. “CAD is indeed high, it is more worrying than fiscal deficit,” he said.
He said the current account deficit was estimated to be around 5 percent of the GDP in the financial year ended March 31, 2013.
The finance minister said India’s economic growth would be in the range of 6.1 to 6.7 percent in the current financial year.
The country’s economic growth has slumped to the lowest in a decade. It is estimated to be around 5 percent in 2012-13.
Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council headed by C. Rangarajan Tuesday said Indian economy has “bottomed out” and is expected to grow at 6.4 percent in the current financial year. Agriculture is likely to grow at 3.5 percent. Manufacturing by four percent and services sector by 7.7 percent in 2013-14.