For the first time in five years, revised revenue and expenditure estimates for 2015-16 are expected to be higher than the budget ones, says Infosys' former top executive T V Mohandas Pai. He, however, stressed on the need for holding fiscal deficit at 3.5 per cent in 2016-17.
"Figures that will come out on February 29 (when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the 2016-17 budget in Parliament) for 2015-16, it will be the first time in five years that revised estimates will be higher than budget estimates both for revenue and expenditure," Pai, currently Chairman of venture capital firm Aarin Capital and Manipal Education, told PTI.
"It's the first time in five years that a finance minister will meet the numbers." He added: "First time, Jaitley has given us a good Budget (2015-16). So, 2016-17 should be a good Budget." Underlining the need for fiscal consolidation, he said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley must keep his promise of checking fiscal deficit at 3.5 per cent, which would lead to interest rates and inflation coming down, besides adding to the credibility of the government.
"The biggest enemy for India is inflation and not growth. It (the Budget) should bring down inflation. Interest rate will come down," said Pai, who was a member of the government-appointed Kelkar Committee on reforming direct taxes. To cut down wasteful expenditure, Pai suggested kerosene subsidy should be brought under direct benefit scheme similar to the one introduced for LPG and pushed for introducing reforms in the fertiliser sector, enhanced infrastructure spending and more allocation to health, education, irrigation and farmers' welfare.
(Disclaimer: Mohandas Pai is an investor in YourStory)