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Jaitley hints at reform-packed Budget, pruning of expenditure

statement comes on heels of govt already touching 99% of market borrowing estimated in the Budget, as of November end

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Ahead of the Union Budget, Finance Minister today hinted at more reforms for faster economic growth and rationalisation of expenditure, saying the government does not believe in living on borrowed money.

The statement comes on the heels of the government already touching 99% of market borrowing plan estimated in the Budget, as of end November -- four months ahead of the end of the financial year on March 31.Read our full coverage on Union Budget



"We're trying to rationalise expenditure as far as the government is concerned because we do not want the government to live on borrowed money indefinitely. The whole concept of spending beyond your means and leaving the next generation in debt to repay what we are overspending today is never prudent fiscal policy," he said.

The minister also hinted at stable tax regime to be unveiled in the Budget, saying no unfair effort will be made the state and the Centre to mop up revenues.

"Our taxation policy was not exactly investor friendly. In the last few months, we've made a huge effort to smoothen tax disputes and those issues which were bringing the Indian revenue structure a bad name.

"I've always believed that where taxes are to be paid, taxes will be collected, but no unfair effort will be made by the state so that investors are unnecessarily harassed in that area," he said.

The government recently decided not to appeal against the verdict in favour of British telecom major in a Rs 3,000 crore case.

The Finance Minister said the will focus on reforms in power, energy, railways and ports and also hinted at more public investment into these sectors.

Addressing a gathering of top industrialists and planners through video conferencing at an event -- 'Mumbai First: Turning the city into an international finance hub' -- Jaitley hinted that the 4.1 per cent deficit target will be met as also at more cuts in the planned expenditure.

After taking over the charge eight months ago, Jaitley already had reduced planned spending by 10 per cent and since the tax mop up has not been pacing as planned, it has been reported that more cuts are on the way.

Besides, not even 50 per cent of the target from the divestment proceeds has been met so far.

First Published: Fri, February 06 2015. 13:40 IST