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Monday, May 17, 2010

Higher 3G mop up to help promote growth, contain prices: FM

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said that windfall on account of auction of 3G telephony spectrum would provide more elbow room to the government to promote growth and deal with rising prices.

"It (higher realisation from auction of 3G spectrum) will provide me more elbow room. I am particular to keep the fiscal deficit at the level, which I have projected rather to improve it ... keeping in view both growth and fiscal consolidation, price stability are the ideas of priority to me," he said in an interview to business news channel.

"I am feeling comfortable, but I am not overenthusiastic," he said when asked about the impact on fiscal deficit of 3G auction, which is estimated to fetch over Rs 60,000 crore to the exchequer against the budget estimate of Rs 35,000 crore.

"When I will give the final figure to Parliament, I would like to give some pleasent surprise to the people that is why I am not making any comment right now... (I am) watching the situation. After all I shall have to go through the whole year," the Minister added.

Mukherjee in his budget for 2010-11 proposed to bring down the fiscal deficit to 5.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 6.7 per cent a year ago.

The all-India bid at the end of 30th day of the 3G auction stood at Rs 15,416.56 crore and the revenues to the government at this price would be Rs 62,254 crore against an estimated Rs 35,000 crore in the budget 2010-11.

The inflation, which crossed 10 per cent mark in February, declined marginally to 9.59 per cent in April. Food inflation is hovering around 16-17 per cent.

As regards growth, the GDP is expected to record a growth of 7.2 per cent during 2009-10 and is slated to move up to around 8.5 per cent in the current fiscal.

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