Need to check fiscal deficit for investment in infrastructure: Chidambaram
Wednesday, 20 December 2006, 06:00 Hrs
New Delhi: There is a need to cut wasteful expenditure to promote investment in the infrastructure sector in the country, said Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. "If we can check the fiscal deficit, it would help to create space for investment in the infrastructure sector," he said on the sidelines of a Confederation of Indian Industry workshop. In the past, the fiscal space has largely been occupied by some outdated, inefficient and wasteful programmes, which were financed through fiscal deficit, he added. "We are not going in for zero percent fiscal deficit but we have to resist the temptation of funding projects through fiscal deficit," Chidambaram said. The high-sounding but wasteful programs could not be run any more as the government was committed to meeting the fiscal deficit targets, he added. Emphasising that the public-private-partnership (PPP) could play a significant role in the development of infrastructure, Chidambaram said the government has cleared 13 PPP infrastructure projects while six more proposals were under consideration. The finance minister said India required $320 billion in infrastructure sector over the next five years. In case of several "big and bold infrastructure projects", the central government is also making an attempt to involve the states, he added.