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HindustanTimes Mon,24 Nov 2014

Polls not a hitch for reforms: Chidambaram

PTI  Boston, April 17, 2013
First Published: 19:54 IST(17/4/2013) | Last Updated: 20:30 IST(17/4/2013)

Vowing to deliver on the fiscal roadmap, finance minister P Chidambaram has expressed confidence that elections are not a hitch in carrying out reforms including fuel price adjustments.

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Addressing an investor meet hosted by Citi Group in Boston, he said while the fiscal deficit will be reduced by 60 basis points each year, the current account deficit (CAD) will be narrowed by raising exports.

Citi said in a note after the meet, attended by about 100 investors, that the finance minister laid out the agenda for next few months - "regulator for road/coal (sector), resolution of coal supply issues (in next the few weeks) and likelihood of another round of power tariff hikes".

"There's longer list, but more importantly, there's commitment on delivery, and confidence that upcoming elections are not a hitch," it said.

According to Citi, Chidambaram said the government was targeting 6.1-6.7% economic growth in this fiscal, which will rise to 7% in the next and 8% in 2015-16. "8%-plus growth is achievable given savings rate of 30-35%."

For the year, it is targeting a fiscal deficit lesser than the budgeted 4.8%, he said adding the government was aiming to bring down core inflation to less than 3.2% and WPI inflation to less than 6%.

On fuel pricing reforms, he said petrol prices have been freed while subsidy on LPG has been capped. "Diesel rates have been hiked 3 times already in steps of 50 paisa per litre. Elections should not derail the pricing reforms," Citi quoted him as saying.


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