Modi government failed on the test of fiscal consolidation: Chidambaram

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Kolkata, Feb 26 (IANS) The Narendra Modi government failed on the test of fiscal consolidation and the people of this country will pay the price for it, former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Monday.

“Starting from 4.5 per cent, the present government should have brought down fiscal deficit to three per cent in 2016-17. They twice postponed it and they said they would do in 2017-18. In the last year, they said they would do in 2018-19.

“In 2017-18, the fiscal deficit is supposed to be 3.2 per cent but in the budget he (Finance Minister Arun Jaitley) has done 3.5 per cent. Next year, it should have been 3 per cent but he said he would do 3.3 per cent. On the test of fiscal consolidation, the government has failed,” he said.

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“From 4.5 per cent to 3.3 per cent of fiscal deficit, it is a reduction of 1.2 per cent in five years,” Chidambaram said, adding that when the UPA left office, it had brought down the fiscal deficit from 5.9 per cent to 4.5 per cent, a reduction of 1.4 per cent in two years.

The UPA government had also brought down revenue deficit to 3.2 per cent and also current account deficit 1.7 per cent, he said.

“We achieved reasonable fiscal consolidation,” he said, noting that fiscal stability is the base on which any economic policy can be constructed and without fiscal stability, nothing can be achieved in any country.

Farmers and youth of the country are “in distress” as the government failed to provide relief to the stressed agriculture sector and to create jobs for youth, said the Congress leader.

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