No immediate withdrawal of stimulus: Sen

India's Chief Statistician differs with PM panel

PTI | February 20, 2010

Disagreeing with the suggestion of the Prime Minister's advisory panel, India's Chief Statistician Pronab Sen said on Friday there is no case for immediate withdrawal of stimulus as the economic recovery is not broadbased.

"I think it's still early... because what data we have still doesn't give very great confidence. So I think we need to be a little cautious on the stimulus withdrawal," Sen told PTI when asked whether Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee should withdraw stimulus in the forthcoming budget.

The budget to be presented on February 26, he added, could lay down the roadmap for the withdrawal of stimulus to deal with fiscal deficit, which is estimated to go up to 6.8 percent of GDP in the current fiscal from 6.2 percent a year ago.

The Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) in its Review of the Economy said the government's exit policy should include reduction of public expenditure and rationalisation of indirect taxes like service tax and excise duties.

"Partially, we need to roll back (stimulus) and if you partially roll back.... there is one possibility that you unify both the rates (excise and service tax) at 10 percent (and also raise both rates) to 12 percent," Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council member Govinda Rao said.



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