Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday asserted that the government will not fudge data on the fiscal deficit, alleging that the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance dispensation had done so, ANI reported. While presenting the Union Budget on February 1, Sitharaman had set the fiscal deficit target for 2020-’21 at 3.5% of the Gross Domestic Product.
A fiscal deficit is a shortfall in the government’s income compared with its expenditure.
“There are a lot of speculations regarding the fiscal deficit,” Sitharaman said at an event held at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi. “Earlier, there was a situation in the previous regime where fiscal deficit numbers were fudged. We are not going to fudge the data.” Sitharaman claimed that the previous government had splurged money.
The finance minister asserted that the present Bharatiya Janata Party government had been very transparent in setting the fiscal deficit target. “We expect the industry to move the economy forward,” she said. “The government is there to support the industry. We are putting money where assets have to be created.”
On February 1, Sitharaman had admitted that the government could not keep the fiscal deficit down to 3.3%, the target it had set itself last July. She revised the estimated fiscal deficit for 2019-’20 to 3.8%.
“Although the Budget has not given anything sector specific, it gives blueprint of how we want to take the economy forward,” the finance minister said according to NDTV. “The Budget was also about whether we are being fiscally responsible or not.”