Full marks to Pranab: Swraj Paul

By Dipankar De Sarkar, IANS,

London : Caparo Group chairman Swraj Paul Monday gave a hefty endorsement to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s budget, saying it would help India’s rural poor at a time of global recession.

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“Full marks to Pranab. This is a very good budget, and he has recognised that India will need a growth rate of 6 to 7 percent to lift up its poor – anything below that mark will lead to greater poverty,” said the Indian-origin steel magnate.

Paul said the budget’s increased deficit spending – projected to be 6.8 percent of GDP – was not unusual in the current global financial climate.

“At the moment there is not a single country – apart from China perhaps – that does not have deficit spending. We have had the biggest economic crisis of our times – there is no choice,” Mukherjee told IANS.

Paul complimented the budget’s rural poor focus, saying it befitted a finance minister who was now the most experienced minister in any democracy.

“Rural development is absolutely essential. Pranab has taken that reality into consideration.

“Twentyfive years ago Pranab became the first Indian finance minister to make the effort to open up the economy to Non Resident Indians as a step towards opening up to the world.

“He has recognised that there are problems in the Indian economy and in this budget he has taken the steps to address those problems,” Paul added.