Austerity measures on the way, says Pranab

NEW DELHI: Citing the difficult economic situation, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the government would be resorting to a fresh spell of austerity measures to deal with the problems, but made it clear that he was not pressing “panic button”.

Winding up a debate on Finance Bill, 2012 in the Rajya Sabha, he said, India’s growth was still intact despite moderation in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which dropped to disappointing level of 6.9 per cent in 2011-12, down from 8.4 per cent in the previous two years.

“International situation is difficult. Country after country is witnessing economic crisis… I shall have to keep in mind it’s a difficult world…I cannot live in a world which is not real”, he said. The House later returned the bill marking completion of the three-stage budgetary exercise for 2012-13 by Parliament.

Referring to crisis in eurozone and its impact on India, Mukherjee said, the government would resort to some “unpopular” steps to deal with the fiscal problems.

“I am going to issue some sort of austerity measures…

whether people like it or not … to convey a signal that we are responding to the situation”, he said, adding, “We are not pressing panic button.”

Mukherjee, however, did not spell out the austerity measures.

His statement came on a day when the BSE sensex slipped below the psychological mark of 16,000, mainly impacted by problems in the eurozone countries and other rich nations.

Referring to members mentioning about the Finance Minister biting the bullet, Mukherjee said, “I am not hesitating to bite the bullet if it achieves the goal, not if it is ending in a fiasco.” -PTI

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