‘Not the time to think of fiscal deficit limits’


The newly appointed President of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sanjay Aggarwal has called for the Indian government to step in and spend more on infrastructure projects. He also said that this is not the time to think of limits set by the FRBM Act.

Describing the Indian economy as “resilient”, President of the premier industry body said that the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the eventual nationwide lockdown was huge.

He said that there is massive requirement of public expenditure, that too from the Centre, as states are not in a good shape in terms of their finances.

Aggarwal was of the view that the government’s policies in terms of lockdown and unlock were very much required.

He observed that the 23.9 per cent contraction in the Indian economy in the April-June quarter was a huge loss, but improved indicators in September, including GST collections, auto sales and export numbers gave an optimistic outlook.

Citing the increase in digital payments and automobile sales along with reports of decrease in job losses by September-end, Aggarwal told IANS that there is resilience in the Indian economy.

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“The point is that the resilience is there, but the damage has been huge. The gap that has been caused, the hole that has been dug, is going to need a lot of filling,” Aggarwal said.

Appreciating the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) announced last year by the government, he said that now is the time for investments to be made through the pipeline.

The industry body chief said that it is not the time now to spend keeping in mind the limits under the FRBM Act.

“This (NIP) is something that now needs to be taken up in all seriousness and the expenditure has to be frontloaded rather than backloaded,” Aggarwal said, observing that the Centre should on an urgent basis make investments, as private investments are unlikely at this juncture and states also are not in a good shape financially.

Aggarwal noted that there might be an impact on fiscal deficit but this is not the time to think of limits set by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act.

“There may be an impact on the deficit, but if you look at the world economy, people have gone up to 20 per cent of the economy for the Covid relief measures. Our budgetary support to the Covid relief measures is not more than 1.5 per cent,” he said.

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