New Delhi: Containing fiscal deficit at 5.3 percent this financial year would be a “challenging” task, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has said.
Just a day after announcing a five-year road map for fiscal consolidation, Chidambaram told the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his ministry Tuesday that “the target of 5.3 per cent is a challenging one, yet it is doable”.
Chidambaram said the strategy to achieve the target would be to maximise revenue collections and control expenditure, said a finance ministry statement released Wednesday.
The finance minister had announced fiscal consolidation road map Monday, targeting to almost halve the deficit by 2016-17 from 5.8 percent of the gross domestic product registered during last fiscal.
As per the plan he outlined, the fiscal deficit would come down to 4.8 percent in 2013-14, 4.2 percent in 2014-15, 3.6 percent in 2015-16 and three percent in 2016-17.
Chidambaram told the committee that best efforts would be made to contain the fiscal deficit at 5.3 percent during this fiscal even though the Kelkar Committee has said that on the current economic trends it could be 6.1 percent.
The government has accepted the Kelkar Committee recommendation that calls for more discipline in government spending. The committee has suggested rationalisation of schemes and strict control and monitoring of expenditure.
During the meeting, several members of the committee, representing different political parties, emphasised the need to review the functioning of various centrally-sponsored schemes and plug the leakages in the distribution of subsidies.
Chidambaram said his ministry was in favour of “fewer centre-sponsored schemes with larger amount so that desired objectives and targets are achieved.”