Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley

This interim budget is to be more than a vote on account, says Jaitley

Agency News

New Delhi, Jan 18 : The Narendra Modi government would break the convention about the interim budget and make the February 1 exercise more significant than a vote on account, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said.

Mr Jaitley said the larger interest of the economy always dictates what goes into the interim budget, including addressing some of the challenges.

"The convention has always been that the election year budget normally is an interim budget and ordinarily there should be no reason why we should move away from that convention. But then the larger interest of the economy always dictates what goes into the interim budget and that’s something which cannot be discussed or disclosed at this stage," Mr Jaitley added.

He was speaking at the CNBC-TV18 Indian Business Leader Awards on Thursday via video conference from New York. He has left for the US on Sunday.

Mr Jaitley said the NDA government had been in this game for far too long to have nervousness about the budget, and was confident and proud of its performance.

However, there were still some things that remained a concern, he said, adding that 7-7.5 per cent growth rate will not suffice and the 8 per cent barrier would have to be crossed.

The Minister added that annual savings from Aadhaar can fund many schemes and it has helped the government to dispense wasteful schemes.

Asked about monetary policy and former RBI Governor Urjit Patel episode, he said the central bank and the government have always been in extensive consultations and both did have two conflicting, diverse viewpoints in an earlier situation, but each acts within the constraints of their domain.

However, he refrained from expressing any views on any rate cut saying he will not fault the RBI or the government for not having consultations.

The Minister said he can't have a real rate of interest that is higher than anywhere else in the world.

Mr Jaitley said he had a lot to be satisfied with over the past five years with the government's achievement. "The NDA government had succeeded in restoring the credibility of the economy and its decision making process over last few years.”

Asked about relief package for farmers, Mr Jaitley said this sector has been facing challenges, and the markets will tend to understand if approach is rational and not populist.

The Government is to present its last and interim budget on February 1, this year. (UNI)