Monday, February 16, 2009

Text of Budget speech of acting finance minister Pranab Mukherjee

Following is the text of Budget speech of acting finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Mr. Speaker, Sir,

I rise to present the Interim Budget for 2009-10.

2. Five years ago the people of India had voted for change. In the words of our Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, people had sought "a change in the manner in which this country is run, a change in the national priorities and a change in the processes and focus of the Government". The Common Minimum Programme of the United Progressive Alliance, built around ‘Aam Aadmi’, was a response to this call for change. As indicated by Shri P. Chidambaram in July 2004, this programme spelt out seven clear economic objectives:

(i) maintaining a growth rate of 7-8 per cent per year for a sustained period;

(ii) providing universal access to quality basic education and health;

(iii) generating gainful employment and promoting investment;

(iv) assuring hundred days of employment to the breadwinner in each family at the minimum wage;

(v) focusing on agriculture, rural development and infrastructure;

(vi) accelerating fiscal consolidation and reform; and

(vii) ensuring higher and more efficient fiscal devolution.

3. As I present the sixth budget of the Government of the United Progressive Alliance which completes its tenure in a couple of months, I can say with confidence that every effort has been made by the government to deliver on the commitments made.

4. For the first four years of the UPA government, our policies ensured a dream run for the economy with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) recording increase of 7.5 per cent, 9.5 per cent, 9.7 per cent and 9 per cent from fiscal year 2004-05 to 2007-08. For the first time, the Indian economy showed sustained growth of over 9 per cent for three consecutive years. With per capita income growing at 7.4 per cent per annum, this represented the fastest ever improvement in living standards over a four year period.

5. During this period, the fiscal deficit came down from 4.5 per cent in 2003-04 to 2.7 per cent in 2007-08 and the revenue deficit declined from 3.6 per cent to 1.1 per cent.

6. Investment and savings showed significant improvement. The domestic investment rate as a proportion of GDP increased from 27.6 per cent in 2003-04 to over 39 per cent in 2007-08. The gross domestic savings rate shot up from 29.8 per cent to 37.7 per cent during this period. The gross capital formation in agriculture as a proportion of agriculture GDP improved from 11.1 per cent in 2003-04 to 14.2 per cent in 2007-08.

7. The buoyant growth of Government revenues facilitated fiscal consolidation as mandated in the FRBM Act. The tax to GDP ratio increased from 9.2 per cent in 2003-04 to 12.5 per cent in 2007-08 bringing us within striking distance of the target for fiscal correction. This also enhanced our capacity to raise resources internally to finance our growth at the rate of 9 per cent per annum during the Eleventh Five Year Plan.

8. All this would not have been possible without the guidance
of UPA Chairperson, Smt. Sonia Gandhi, the inspiring leadership of Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and the hard work put in by my predecessor, Shri P. Chidambaram.

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