‘Fuel supply for power should top Government agenda’

Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Government of India, exudes confidence in India achieving its growth targets with the Finance Ministry charting out clear plans for fiscal consolidation and drawing in investments. “There is a lot of liquidity in the world economy and India is still seen as one of the countries whose economic performance could be quite good.” But perception is important and people should see that the economy is well managed and is turning around. The Ministry has taken firm steps, including measures to control deficit and subsidy outgo.

While the year ahead of elections may not be good for trying out new ideas, the Government can focus on implementing policies that have been announced. They may not require any legislative changes, but just decision-making. In Chennai recently to address the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ahluwalia spoke to Business Line on a wide range of issues in this interview. Excerpts:

 

With the current account deficit touching 6.7 per cent in the third quarter, what’s the Government’s next move going to be?

We knew that the current account deficit for 2012-13 was going to be higher than the previous year’s though the third quarter number is worse than I had expected. However, the quarterly figure should not be mechanically projected. It looks as year 2012-13 will end up with a CAD of around 5 per cent of GDP which is twice what I would call a ‘comfortable level’. We have to bring it under control. There can be no question about that.

What can the Government do then to bring it under control?

 

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