Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is a happy man, what with the government's recent windfall from 3G auction. In an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18, the finance minister said high returns from 3G auction does provide extra elbow room to the government.
When asked if it will ease the current fiscal deficit strain, Mukherjee said he would like to pleasantly "surprise" the country and an appropriate announcement will be made in Parliament. Mr Mukherjee, however, said given the size of the country, "I am comfortable, but not over-enthusiastic."
The finance minister ruled out media speculation that he was being approached by the Ambani brothers for a settlement of the gas dispute. On euro crisis, he said it was not possible to insulate against global development. But the bailout package will have some impact.
CNBC-TV18 shares with domain-b its exclusive interview with Pranab Mukherjee.
Let me start with the good news, I will talk about the risk and the challenges later and that comes in on the 3G auction front. You have got an extra non-tax revenue cushion coming in by way of the 3G auction. It has already crossed your budget estimates of Rs35,000 crore, at last count Rs 60,000 crore and the 3G auction is not even finished. Are you feeling relieved at this point in time and can we actually see you revise your fiscal deficit projection and your target?
I am happy that it has reached that figure. Of course, I took into account Rs35,000 crore in my budgetary forecast and if I have more than Rs60,000 crore, naturally it 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 because I do believe coming back to the path of fiscal consolidation is absolutely necessary to have GDP (gross domestic product) growth on a sustainable basis and to avoid the other concomitance, which are happening in different parts of the country.
Therefore, keeping that in view both growth and fiscal consolidation, price stability are the ideas of priority to me.