Keshav Acharya is the Senior Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance. He spoke about the development ambitions and challenges of the budget. Excerpts:
The overall environment is painted in uncertainty. How can you spend so much in development?
We have set aside Rs 129.53 billion for development. Till now we have already spent around Rs 6 billion. So, in the remaining seven or eight months we will need to spend Rs 123 billion. We will successfully spend them.
But the process for releasing resources for development itself is so lengthy. How can you?
This budget does not have any new programs or projects. We have continued the projects from the previous year and they do not need to go through the process again.
Still, given the past experiences and the slow pace of administrative machinery, how can you brush aside those doubts?
We may not spend the whole of Rs 129 billion. But we will spend the large chunk of it.
There are also worries that in trying to speed up spending, the government may end up facing irregularities and wasteful spending?
That is why, this time we have introduced some bold measures. For instance, the money allocated for far and mid western region cannot be transferred anywhere else. Likewise, the spending on the last month of the fiscal year (Asar) must not exceed 20 percent of the total. Otherwise, we have seen that in Asar alone there have been 39 percent of the total spending.