Prime Minister lauds country's General Budget

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New Delhi, Feb 26 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Friday congratulated Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for presenting an 'exceedingly good budget', and described it as the right mix to enable growth while sticking to the fiscal deficit consolidation requirements.

"The Finance Minister has done an exceedingly good job ... the imperatives of accelerated growth, inclusive growth and the imperative also of working over a period of time to strengthen the fiscal position of the country," Dr. Singh said.

"I think that overall my impression is that the Finance Minister has done a right mix of estimating the growth requirements as well as the same time building in it a certain amount of moderation on the price front," Dr. Singh added.

Dr. Singh appeared confident that the economy would grow at a growth rate of 7.2 percent.

"Despite negative growth rate, the economy this year will grow at least by 7.2 percent. In my view it could grow up to 7.5 percent," he said.

The Prime Minister further said that the proposed hike in central excise duties should not trigger any inflationary trends.

"You must look at the total picture emerging from the Budget, the revenue gains for the Finance Minister is only Rs 200 billion. In an economy as large as India, this resource mobilisation effort should not trigger any inflationary expectations. At the same time it gives a much-needed signal. The Finance Minister has not gone back to the pre-stimulus excise duty rate. He has still exercised moderation while signalling to the economy that you cannot have all things together," Dr. Singh said.

He also said the government was committed to satisfying all the apprehensions of the business community and the investors before implementing the direct taxes code.

"The direct taxes code must be a source of strengthening the growth impulses, the dynamic impulses. But the direct taxes code which was circulated, it has, I think, aroused certain apprehensions in the minds of the business community," Dr. Singh said.

"Those are being looked into and I think nothing is lost by postponing the introduction of the direct taxes code till such time that we have satisfied all the apprehensions that had been expressed by the investors and the business community," he added. (ANI)

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