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India doesn't stand out as an overspender: Montek

business Updated: Jan 04, 2010 22:51 IST

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Refusing to be drawn into the debate over when should stimulus packages be withdrawn, the Planning Commission on Monday said India will not stand out in the world as an overspender despite the rise in the fiscal deficit because of the sops.

"You can be sure that Indian fiscal deficit will not stand out as a case of overspending ... because for the first time in 2009-10 so far, India's combined fiscal deficit is actually lower than both the United States and UK," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said at a Ficci organised seminar on 'Global Economic Crisis: Back to Keynes'.

Ahluwalia said there is no agreement the world over on when should the stimuli be withdrawn as economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman argues that a premature withdrawal of the stimulus measures may lead to a loss of gains that have been made.

"I don't want to pronounce on it (withdrawal of stimulus)... simply because one it is a very difficult issue, which the Finance Ministry and the Government will be facing in a couple of months from now, when they present the Budget," he said.

Impacted by the deepening financial crisis from the middle of September 2008, India has cut excise duty by six per cent, service tax by two per cent and stepped up plan outlay to prop up the slowing down economy.

This has widened the Centre's fiscal deficit, which is projected to be 6.8 per cent of the GDP this fiscal. If the states fiscal deficit is added to it, the combined fiscal deficit would be much higher.