Shortly after presenting the Budget on Monday, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee spoke to Prannoy Roy of NDTV and TN Ninan of Business Standard.
Excerpts from the interview:
Roy: The main worry a lot of our viewers have is the prices next year, oil prices in particular… If global oil prices go up will you stick to your policy… not increase the subsidy and allow prices to go up?
The oil sector is very slippery... Today it is unpredictable and we should not venture to take any decision. We may have to follow different combinations of policies according to situations.
Ninan: It seems that the reform measures get dragged out over a long period of time…Is there something you can do to speed up the pace?
I am doing exactly that… Somebody has criticised that there is no big-ticket item. Big-ticket items would have attracted headlines, no doubt, but I believe reforms are a continuing process. It cannot be stopped anywhere… Long before (my) fifth budget I will complete the process, I assure you.
Ninan: (What about) food security?
For India to feed a 1-billion-plus population… Whoever is in the administration has to produce enough to meet (the country's) requirements… A section of the population, which we have identified from BPL families, should get it at subsidised prices. We have indicated Rs 3 per kilo and have introduced quantums.