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Interim budget is not a mathematical jugglery: FM

February 20, 2014 09:06 IST

Image: Finance Minister P Chidamabaram
Photographs: Courtesy, PIB

Finance Minister P Chidamabaram has challenged BJP’s Prime Ministerial nominee and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to face the press with his views on the economy. He has questioned why the Gujarat CM is reluctant to face questions from the media.

Chidambaram said in an exclusive interview with CNN-IBN’s Bhupendra Chaubey that anyone who says that his figures in the interim budget are mathematical jugglery, he challenges them to prove it.

He also said that Modi is all about himself. "I take him seriously and I will tell you why I take him seriously. He is the principal opposition party's prime ministerial candidate. It is because I take him seriously I closely follow what he says and I notice the undercurrent of majoritarianism, the undercurrent of individualism and his famous theme in every speech – I, me, mine, give me power, I will give you swaraj, give me power, I will get the black money." Chidambaram said.

Interim Union Budget 2014-15: Complete Coverage

Interim budget is not a mathematical jugglery: FM

Photographs: Reuters

On Budget

Anyone who says my figures are mathematical jugglery, I challenge them to prove it.

No question of playing swapping this financial year’s expenditure in next year's quota.

It is not an exercise to win votes, it’s more to reach out to the middle classes, urban poor.

Subsidies is a reality, we have to live with it. LPG subsidy isn’t going to cross beyond 12 cylinders.

On Fiscal Deficit

Point is last year also they said, my numbers were not credible, I can't achieve the target. But, I have achieved the target. My numbers are there on the table…Nobody had pointed out which number of revised estimate of 2013-14 is not credible.

This is the annual ritual of critics... They have nothing to say...They will say your numbers are not credible...My numbers are credible…I achieved a fiscal deficit of 4.6 after setting a target of 4.8. You take it from me 4.1 is double target. Whoever is in government aims at achieving this target. 

Tags: LPG

Interim budget is not a mathematical jugglery: FM

Photographs: Uttm Ghosh/Rediff

On tax saving

Last year I also set the high target. We didn't achieve the target but I have achieved the fiscal deficit.

The reason why we set a high target is that the only way in which Central Board of Direct Taxes, Central Board of Excise Taxes and Customs will aim at high target.
Even if a fall short, growth slower, it doesn't matter.

If you set a low target, they will achieve a low it is always good to setup a target which appeared difficult and try to achieve that target.

On Oil Subsidy

The budget estimate placed fuel subsidy at Rs 65,000 crore (Rs 650 billion). The revised estimate shows it Rs 85,481 crore (Rs 854.81 billion).

One of the reasons for this is, we rolled over Rs 45,000 crore (Rs 450 billion) to this year...Next year I am rolling over only Rs 3500 crore (Rs 35 billion)... Which means I am paying Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion) this year...I could have shown the revised estimate for Rs 75,481 crore (Rs 754.81 billion) and showed Rs 10,000 crore next year.. So next year’s number is Rs 63,500 crore (Rs 635 billion).

We are correcting diesel prices. If the government continues to correct diesel prices at 50 paisa a month, we will get Rs 6 rupees a litre over the year... and that is premium revenue.
We are trying to tighten the system by the way LPG is distributed. If we eliminate duplicate or false LPG connections, that itself saves us a very large amount every month.

Interim budget is not a mathematical jugglery: FM

Image: Rahul Gandhi
Photographs: Pawan Kumar/Reuters

On decision of subsidy after Rahul Gandhi's request in AICC session...

I don't think so...A govt doesn't descend from the skies, a govt is elected by the people. There are millions of people in this country who wants more cylinders with subsidy. There are millions who wants food with subsidy. There are millions who want fertiliser with subsidy and no government can brush them aside.

The claimer came from the gathering at AICC and the vice-president of the party articulated that we hiked the number of cylinders to 12.

I remember, we started with 6 but within a month without any claimer getting the feedback from ground we raised it to 9.

But, it really doesn't matter where you are fazed to 9 or 12. I don't think, there will claimer for more. If I eliminate about 1.5 crore duplicate or false connections, I save Rs 800 crore to Rs 1200 crore a month. That is the big saving budgeting for over the next year and pushing the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to eliminate duplicate and false connections.

On public debate with Narendra Modi

First, let him face a press conference first. I am not willing to engage in a school boy's debate.

We have to have a debate on a substantial subject. He must first spell out his views like I have spelt out my views...I have got a 10 point agenda in the end of my budget speech. I want him to spell out whether he agrees with those 10 or not.

What is his position on Fiscal Deficit? What is his position on CAD (Current Account Deficit)? What is his position on say monetary policy? What is his position on Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Direct Taxes Code (DTC)? 

Interim budget is not a mathematical jugglery: FM

Photographs: Babu/Reuters

On Modi's Economic Model 

What is the economic model? We have been able to lift 14 crore people out of poverty in 10 years. Show me any other period of 10 years where 14 crore people have been lifted out of poverty.

What is Mr. Modi's economics? Please spell out 6 points of economics... I think no one knows what is Mr Modi's economics is...

Why do you not read my budget speech? I have given you facts and figures. What was position in 2004, position on the end of 2013 December, I have given you numbers about rural roads and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sarak Yojna, I have given you number about railway track, power, coal production, number of education loans. These are facts and I sincerely hope you don't believe fake encounter with facts.

Our economic model deliver growth rate above the trend rate over the 10 years. The BJP’s economy model deliver a growth rate below the trend rate... we can look at Gujarat.
If you compare Gujarat and Maharashtra, Maharashtra is ahead of Gujarat in several parameters.