To reach out to the masses, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday took questions from a number of netizens on a variety of topics through a live video chat on Google+ Hangout.
Responding to a question, the finance minister said the government's net borrowings in the next fiscal will rise by only Rs 5,000 crore - the slowest pace of increase in the recent years. He sought to clarify the government's borrowing numbers given in the budget unveiled last week.
Chidambaram said the government is committed to achieving the 4.8 per cent fiscal deficit target in the next fiscal.
Expressing concerns over the current account deficit, he said that the government is working with RBI and other regulators to find a way to narrow the deficit in the short term. "But over the long-term exports should pay for imports," he said.
Chidambaram said India's imports gold and crude oil contribute significantly to the current account deficit. Referring to Indians love for gold, he said, "If we stop gold imports, our current account deficit will halve"
Apart from fielding questions from the public, Chidambaram also discussed the budget and the state of the economy with a panel that included Mahindra & Mahindra Chairman and Managing Director Anand Mahindra; JP Morgan's Senior Asia Economist and India Chief Economist Jahangir Aziz and Google Inc Senior Vice President Amit Singhal.
The session lasted about an hour.
Highlights of the session
>> Chidambaram: World Economy is constrained, so is Indian economy
>> Chidambaram: We have done what could have done in the Budget, given the economic space we had
>> Chidambaram on Nirbhaya Fund: We are yet to flesh out the details of the fund. We will thrash out the details after consultations.
>> Chidambaram: Women bank may be set up by October
>> Chidambaram: Confident about meeting disinvestment target in next fiscal
>> Chidambaram: We haven't gone wrong anywhere, world economy is hurting us
>> Chidambaram: We will monitor capex plans of PSUs
>> Chidambaram: Every kind of income should be taxed except a few
>> Chidambaram: Our capital gains tax policy is fair
>> Chidambaram: I will hold PSU MDs to account for not spending
>> Chidambaram: Fiscal deficit targets will be met
>> Chidambaram: Current account deficit is a bigger worry
>> Chidambaram: Exports have to ramped up to bridge CAD
>> Chidambaram: We have raised limits of our debt limit. We will open up our debt market in a calibrated manner
>> Chidambaram: Net borrowing is only increasing by Rs 5,000 crore
>> Chidambaram: Our borrowings are well within limit
>> Chidambaram: If we don't import gold for one year our CAD will halve
>> Chidambaram: If you buy Rs 6,000 phone, is it unfair to pay Rs 300 in tax?
>> Chidambaram: We are trying to promote housing in tier II, III cities
>> Chidambaram: Costs are rising. I can also feel it at my home
>> Chidambaram: We have to take broadband to every college, school and panchayats for the internet to benefit our economy.
>> Chidambaram: There is not magic to become a middle-income country. We have to respect the laws of economics
>> Chidambaram: We have to use the savings of our people and FDI (savings of people of country countries)
>> Chidambaram: Why does it take a year to build a 100 km road in China, but 5 years in India? We all have to work very hard