This refers to “Govt may resort to tested ways to contain fiscal gap” (November 24). Admitting the report itself is speculative, one wonders why the government should show such a high level of diffidence when it comes to the fiscal deficit. The messy handling of the country's resources gets reflected in government accounts and balance sheets of organisations owned or controlled by the Centre.
Earlier this year, the Centre persuaded the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to make an advance payment of Rs 100 billion against surplus income transferable after closing of RBI’s accounts in June 2018. Institutions such as the Life Insurance Corporation of India hesitate to introduce professionalism in fund management, as they do not know when a call will come for diverting a specified sum for deployment in one of the government-owned organisations.
At some stage, the government needs to muster the courage to exploit the idle wealth in the country in public interest, look at the cumulative position of assets and liabilities of the government and public sector organisations and bring transparency in mainstreaming and accounting of India’s resources. Once this is done, India will be able to announce to the world that though its government has a higher fiscal deficit figure, the country has enough domestic resources to meet any eventuality.
Once the government is able to convince the stakeholders that public interest is safe in the hands of the government, people will not speculate about it invoking the ‘public interest’ clause from the statute book to bargain with a statutory body for favours.
M G Warrier Thiruvananthapuram
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