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Jaitley hints at special steps to boost public spending

The Minister underlined the need for stepping up public investments in infrastructure sector to boost economic growth

Press Trust of India  |  Chennai 

Arun Jaitley

With one-and-a-half months left for the Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the government will take "special steps" to boost public spending on infrastructure and initiate measures to rationalise subsidies.

"Even with the present constraint of fiscal deficit in revenue, it's a challenging and a difficult opportunity for us. But I think we have to take some special steps as far as public investments is concerned," he said.

The Minister underlined the need for stepping up public investments in infrastructure sector to boost economic growth.

"The whole PPP model is still under stress and we have to revive this. This is a course we are on and hopefully, with clarity in governance, we will be able to proceed," he said while addressing a CII function here.

Referring to the need to rationalise subsidies, the Minister said: "From January 1, LPG subsidy is going through banks...We have to gradually rationalise all possible subsidies."

The government is expected to incorporate the suggestions of the Expenditure Finance Commission headed by former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan in the proposals for 2015-16, which will be presented by Jaitley next month.

Jalan is reported to have submitted interim recommendations to the Finance Ministry suggesting various steps to rationalise subsidies and public expenditure.

The government's subsidy bill towards oil and fertilisers runs into lakhs of crores of rupees.

The Minister also underlined the need for stability in tax and other policies to make India an attractive place for investment.

The implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), he added, will help in improving the business climate in the country.

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First Published: Mon, January 19 2015. 14:34 IST