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May 8, 2000
Budget had no scope for price-hike rollbacks, says Sinha
He disagreed with political parties that advocated low taxes and subsidies.
In a discussion on government expenditure in the upper house of Parliament, Sinha said Budget 2000 is rigid. Scope for adjustments is less because of subsidies bill, interest payments and defence and establishment expenses.
The government cut fertiliser, fuel and food subsidies -- these are equivalent to 14 per cent of gross domestic product -- to check the ballooning fiscal deficit estimated at 5.6 per cent of GDP for 1999-2000. The government hopes to cut it to 5.1 per cent in 2000-01.
Regarding the soaring government expenditure, he said a commission would make recommendations on how to contain it: "The entire functions of all government departments need to be reviewed, they need to tell us that certain functions or parts of departments are no more necessary. I expect such recommendations to reduce expenditure."
He also said the government would not cut down on defence spending for fiscal fitness.
PM urges exporters to target 20% growth
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has set a target of 20 per cent growth for exporters this year. Only such a growth rate can carve out a fair share of world trade for India, he told award-winning exporters in New Delhi today
Increased exports will help India to fine-tune itself to new management systems, technological changes and international best practices, he opined.
In 1999-2000, exports grew 11.6 per cent. In the previous three years, growth was tardy.
He pointed out that manufactured products and services are accounting for an increasing share in India's overall exports.
Such success needs to be achieved in knowledge-based sectors like information technology, pharmaceuticals, electronics and biotechnology.
Necessary changes in policy for improved exports will be effected, he assured the exporters.
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