Reforms, low deficit necessary to sustain high growth: PMEAC
"The process of fiscal consolidation is important from the point of view of sustaining high growth over the medium term. We really need to have a clear programme for containing subsidies."
"Therefore, the need for adjusting the diesel prices or the petroleum prices in line with what is happening to the crude prices in the international market has become necessary," Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Chairman C Rangarajan told PTI in an interview.
He suggested that the government should rationalise the subsidies with a view to preventing wastage and helping needy.
"Priorities will have to be laid down by the government in terms of the type of subsidy which is considered to be most important… Then the other subsidies will have to be reduced so as to ensure that overall subsidy is within the limits of what is considered to be prudent," he said.
The government has pegged its outgo on food, fuel and fertiliser subsidies in the 2012-13 fiscal at over Rs 1.79 lakh crore, lower than Rs 2.08 lakh crore spent last fiscal.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram had said that the subsidy bill in the current financial year is expected to rise to 2.4 per cent of the GDP from 1.9 per cent estimated in the Budget.
"We need a long term plan to bring down the subsidies as a proportion of GDP. At the same time we also need to ensure that tax-GDP ratio also goes up. Therefore the process of fiscal consolidation should be such as to ensure that over the next 2-3 years, we get back to the (fiscal deficit of) 3 per cent of GDP," Rangarajan said.
"Reforms need to be introduced in order to improve the productivity of the system wherever competition is lacking, we need to inject competition in those areas," he added.