Fiscal discipline is of prime importance: Jaitley

New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) In a post-Budget 2016-17 meeting with India Inc on Wednesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reiterated the need for fiscal discipline and said he was optimistic of the reform process moving ahead in parliament.

“Fiscal discipline is going to be very important, and I’m sure that if we keep to it, we’ll be able to meet the targets set by Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian in the Economic Survey,” Jaitley told representatives here of industry associations FICCI, CII and Assocham.

“I am also sure, if there is cooperation in the political sphere, that we will be able to go ahead with reforms,” he added.

Presenting the budget in parliament on Monday, Jaitley said he had decided that prudence lies in adhering to fiscal targets, but while doing so, has also ensured that the development agenda is not compromised.

The government has targeted reducing the fiscal deficit to 3.9 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the current financial year, compared with four percent last year, and reduce it further to 3.5 percent in 2016-17.

The fiscal deficit for 2014-15 touched 4.1 percent of GDP.

The Economic Survey presented in parliament last week said “the coming year is expected to be a challenging one from the fiscal point of view because of challenges posed by a lower-than-projected nominal GDP growth” and “chances of India’s growth rate in 2016-17 increasing significantly beyond 2015-16 levels are not very high, due to likelihood of persistence of global slowdown”.

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