India budget aims to trim subsidy burden
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee set gross tax receipts in the fiscal year starting in April at 10.8 trillion ($214.35 billion), total expenditure at 14.9 trillion rupees and net market borrowing at 4.8 trillion rupees.india Updated: Mar 16, 2012 12:29 IST
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee proposed trimming the government's subsidy burden and called for speeding the pace of economic reforms, which have been stalled by political gridlock, in his budget speech on Friday.
He set gross tax receipts in the fiscal year starting in April at 10.8 trillion ($214.35 billion), total expenditure at 14.9 trillion rupees and net market borrowing at 4.8 trillion rupees.
- The budget comes against the backdrop of low expectations, with the ruling party, battered in recent state polls and hamstrung by slowing economic growth and high global oil prices, in no position to advance bold economic reforms that could unclog flagging growth in Asia's third-largest economy.
- The central bank left interest rates on hold on Thursday and warned of resurgent inflation risks, putting pressure on the government to trim the fiscal deficit.
- Inflation picked up for the first time in five months to 6.95% in February, although the number remains below the central bank's end-March projection of 7%.
- Production at factories, mines and utilities in January expanded 6.8% from a year earlier, the highest since June 2011 and from market estimate of 2.1%.
- But growth in Asia's third largest economy fell to 6.1 % in the quarter ended December, the weakest pace in almost three years, data released in February showed.
($1 = 50.3850 Indian rupees)