Union Budget 2015: Finance minister Jaitley goes for growth, slower fiscal deficit cuts

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 28, 2015 12:03 IST

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday announced a budget aimed at high growth, saying the pace of cutting the fiscal deficit would slow as he seeks to boost investment and ensure that ordinary people benefit.
Jaitley, delivering his first full-year budget since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's landslide election victory last May, said growth would accelerate to between 8-8.5% in the fiscal year starting in April.
"India is about to take off," Jaitley, 62, said early in his speech in the Lok Sabha. "The world is predicting that this is India's chance to fly."
Jaitley said he would stand by the fiscal deficit target for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which ends March 31, of 4.1% of gross domestic product.
But he pushed back by a year his medium-term goal of cutting the deficit to 3% of gross domestic product. In 2015-16 the deficit will be 3.9% of GDP, up from the 3.6% target inherited from the last government.
Jaitley said it was time for a "quantum leap" on reforms and that incremental change "is not going to take us anywhere", building on expectations that the 2015-16 budget would deliver big-bang reforms.
The minister said the government would seek to boost the efficiency of the MNREGA scheme. "Rs 34,699 crore is allocated for MNREGA scheme," he said.

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