Arun Jaitley
Economy

Govt will stick to 3.3 per cent fiscal deficit target: FM

New Delhi, Sep 15: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday expressed confidence that the Government will strictly maintain the fiscal deficit target of 3.3 per cent.

Talking to reporters here after an economic review meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi , Jaitley said, ‘the Government was confident of a growth rate higher than what he had projected last year and the inflation is broadly under control'. The Finance Minister also expressed confidence that the Government will maintain 100 per cent capital expenditure. 'As far as capital expenditure is concerned, already we have spent about 44 per cent of the budgeted expenditure till August 31 and will end the year without any cuts and will maintain the 100 per cent capital expenditure,' Jaitley said. However, the Finance Minister did not say if today's meeting discussed the recent spike in fuel prices. The fuel hike has led petrol touching a record high of Rs.81.63 per litre and diesel to Rs. 73.54 a litre.

The meeting, the second in the series of meetings called by the PM at his official residence to review constantly rising prices of petrol and diesel, depreciation of rupee and widening Current Account Deficit, was also attended by the RBI governor and officials of the PM's Economic advisory council.

On the GST, the Finance minister expressed optimism that with the GST settling down there would be an increase in collections in the coming months and that the Government would meet the tax collection target. 'With regard to GST and other indirect taxes, GST is settling down and with the kind of pickup in consumption which has taken place, it will have an impact on GST collection in future months. He also exudes confidence of surpassing Rs.1 lakh crore targets from disinvestment proceeds. We're confident that between direct and indirect tax collections, Government would comfortably meet the target,' Jaitley said.

Giving details of the meeting, he said,'today was the internal meeting with the Finance ministry. DEA gave a detailed presentation. PM took a review of the various departments of ministry of finance.'

Today was the second review meeting after Friday’s meet where the Prime Minister and Jaitley discussed the pressure on the Indian economy due to rise in crude oil prices in the international market and the rupee depreciation.

Sources said that during the two day meetings, the specific steps have also taken to attract dollars and said that more measures are being planned to smoothen volatility in the financial markets to contain the widening current account deficit (CAD) and check the fall of the rupee. In the meeting, the PM and Jaitley deliberated on ways to check the adverse impact that the fall in rupee value is likely to have on the economy and retail inflation. (With input from UNI)