Pranab Mukherjee admits the life of India's Finance Minister isn't easy. Few know it better than him. This Budget, after all, is the Congressman's seventh, only one less than Morarji Desai and on a par with his cabinet colleague, P Chidambaram. But more than merely being an economic balancing act, this was also about walking the political tightrope, he tells T N Ninan. Edited excerpts:
You are aiming for a sharp reduction in the petroleum subsidy bill at a time when oil prices have gone up. Does this mean you are going to raise petroleum product prices at some stage?
When I state that we have to peg the subsidies to two per cent of GDP and in the next three years it would have to be brought down to 1.75 per cent of GDP, the message is quite clear. We could do it through executive or legislative action. You have to do this, otherwise a situation will come when the macroeconomic fundamentals will be seriously distorted and it will be beyond repair.
Text: Business Standard