oppn parties RBI Issues Timely Warning on Fiscal Consolidation

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  • 16 killed as the vehicle they were traveling in plunged into a deep gorge near Jammu
  • Vodafone CEO seeks government relief, saying India operations on the verge of collapse
  • Three teenagers killed in a major accident in Kolkata's New Town area when their Honda City rammed into a road divider and a Metro pillar. The car was mangled
  • Vishwa Hindu Parishad not to publicly 'celebrate' Babri Masjid demolition day this year, all events will be closed door
  • JNU students march against the steep hike in fees, keep HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal stuck at the venue of the convocation
  • USFDA says Cytotron, an anti-cancer kit developed by Bengaluru based Rajah Vijay Kumar, is a "breakthrough device" for treating liver, pancreatic and breast cancers
  • Car sales show a minuscule uptrend after declining continuously for 11 months
  • Industrial output contracts by 4.3% in September, the worst decline in 8 years
  • Centre defends abrogation of Article 370 in the Supreme Court, says the power under it was used by the President six times previously
  • Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar admitted to hospital with lung infection, put on ventilator
  • Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant quits as Union Minister
  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met the leaders of both Hindus and Muslims in Delhi on Sunday to ensure peace and harmony is maintained after the Ayodhya verdict
  • Tipu Jayanti passes off peacefully in Karnataka
  • 10 dead as Cyclone Bulbul leaves destruction in its wake in West Bengal
  • Shefali Verma breaks Sachin's 30-year old record by scoring an international fifty at 15 years and 285 days
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RBI Issues Timely Warning on Fiscal Consolidation

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Although it was expected that the MPC of the RBI would hold rates, what was not expected was the veiled warning the apex bank chose to give to the government. The RBI was categorical in saying that if fiscal consolidation is not adhered to and even made stronger; the country is in for tough times ahead. This is a very sane and timely warning.

The government was committed to fiscal deficit of 3.2% this year. It has now said that this will be closer to 3.5%. Even this figure might increase. This is bad fiscal management. As it is, India has frequently postponed what it had set out to do in the FRBM Act. The fiscal deficit was to be pruned to 3% by 2008. Even ten years later, there is no hope of achieving that. This is mainly due to the fact that revenue deficit keeps bloating, although the NDA government has kept it in check.

In order to bring down the fiscal deficit, the government will have to run a tight ship. This does not mean it will have to lay off people or otherwise cut down on necessary expenditure. But at a conservative estimate, there is a leakage of 5 to 10 percent on account of wasteful expenditure that can be controlled. This is where the focus should be. The NDA government is working (the recent decision to make the Railway Board less top heavy was one of them) on that and the results will take time in coming. But a lot more needs to be done in this area.

The RBI is mainly worried about inflation. It has already revised the target from 4% to 5%. A one percent jump is massive, especially since there is greater jump in food inflation, something that hits citizens on a daily basis. Interest rate reduction has been put on the back burner in face of rising inflation. The government should heed the RBI warning and must not deviate from fiscal targets.