NEW DELHI Feb 17 (Reuters) - Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram presented the interim budget for the fiscal year 2014/15 on Monday to cover expenditure until the government's term ends in May.
Here are some quotes from his speech.
"Manufacturing is the Achilles' Heel of the Indian economy. The deceleration in investment in manufacturing is particularly worrying. Consequently, there is no uptick yet in manufacturing."
GROWTH IS RETURNING
"I was confident that the decline will be arrested and the growth cycle will turn in the second quarter. Madam, I believe I have been vindicated. Growth in Q2 of 2013-14 has been placed at 4.8 percent and growth for the whole year has been estimated at 4.9 percent."
"I can confidently assert that the economy is more stable today than what it was two years ago. The fiscal deficit is declining, the current account deficit has been constrained, inflation has moderated, the quarterly growth rate is on the rise, the exchange rate is stable, exports have increased and hundreds of projects have been unblocked."
NO POLICY PARALYSIS
"I reject the argument of policy paralysis. Just as there are business cycles, there is a cycle around the trend growth rate of an economy."
"I'm afraid we will not be able to spend the budgeted plan expenditure, but non-plan expenditure will exceed the budget by a small amount."
BILLS NOT PASSED
"I regret to record my disappointment that the insurance laws amendment bill and the securities laws amendment bill have not been passed by parliament for reasons that have nothing to do with the merits of the bills."
IMPORTANCE OF INDIA
"There is a well-argued view that in the next three decades, India's nominal GDP will take the country to the third rank after the US and China. Just as the fortune of the developed countries affect emerging economies today, China and India will in the future have a significant impact on the rest of the world. We therefore owe a responsibility not only to ourselves but to the whole world to keep our economy in robust health."
"Since we will run a current account deficit for some more years, we can be financed only by foreign investment, whether that is FDI or FII or ECD or any other kind of foreign inflow. Hence there is no room for any aversion to foreign investment."
NO TAX REFORMS
"I am disappointed that we have not yet been able to introduce GST. I leave it to you to answer the question: 'Who blocked the GST?' when an agreement on the game-changing tax reform was around the corner."