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Won’t breach red lines on deficit- India FM
April 16, 2013, 9:24 am


Chidambaram is visiting Canada and the US to attract investment [AP]

Overturning fears of foreign investors about fiscal deficit, India’s finance minister says the country is committed to reducing its fiscal deficit and would achieve the target of three per cent in 2016-17.

Palaniappan Chidambaram said: “India will reduce the fiscal deficit until we reach the target of three per cent in 2016-17 or perhaps a little earlier.”

Chidambaram was speaking at the Canada India Business Council meeting in Toronto.

The government will set up independent regulators for coal and road sectors in four months, said the finance minister.

Beginning his campaign in North America for wooing foreign investments, he said India saw no difficulty in concluding a free trade pact with Canada.

“There will be a road regulatory authority and a coal regulatory authority within two to four months,” he said.

The visiting Indian minister said the regulatory authorities would become effective mechanisms to address problems being faced in implementation of road and coal projects.

He also added that India was on the path of fiscal consolidation.

“I said in the year 2012-13 I will bring fiscal deficit down to below 5.3 per cent, and going forward, I will reduce the fiscal deficit every year by 0.6 per cent until we have achieved the target of three per cent in 2016-17. I said these are red lines. I will not breach these red lines,” asserted Chidambaram.

Replying to a query on the proposed India-Canada comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA), the minister suggested the two countries were keen to sign the free trade pact in the near future.

Chidambaram is visiting Canada and the US to attract investments and later attend the annual spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington.

During his recent trip to Tokyo, the finance minister said India’s economy is capable of absorbing $50 billion in foreign direct investment per year.

With inputs from Agencies