India can't sustain high fiscal deficit: Chidambaram

 

 

India's fiscal deficit which is expected to remain at 5.2 percent of the GDP in the current financial year is high and the country cannot sustain this, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said Thursday.

"Fiscal deficit is still very high. We cannot sustain 5.2 percent. We have to bring it down," Chidambaram said while replying to a discussion on the national budget for the 2013-14 fiscal in the Lok Sabha.

Chidambaram said the focus of his budget for the next financial year was on containing the fiscal deficit that could lead to a macro-economic disaster if not checked.

"I sincerely appeal to all members to support the path of fiscal consolidation," he said.

In the union budget for 2013-14 presented Feb 28, Chidambaram proposed to contain the fiscal deficit at 5.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the financial year ending March 31 and bring it down to 4.8 percent in 2013-14.

Chidambaram said the stimulus packages provided in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008-09 have resulted in high fiscal deficit and created inflationary pressure.

He pointed out that the government had announced stimulus packages to boost economic growth as the world economy was going through a difficult phase.

The finance minister expressed hope that India's economic growth would accelerate to over six percent in the financial year beginning April 1 and above seven percent in the following year.

The Indian economy is expected to grow at around five percent in the current financial year, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) data.