New Delhi: Concerned over difficult economic situation, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday said the country cannot afford to make more mistakes and made a case for accelerating reforms to promote growth and contain fiscal deficit.
"We do face difficult situation today and I think what is important that we do not make any more mistakes... we (need to) quickly get back to the path of fiscal consolidation," he said at a function to release a book titled 'Accidental India' written by Shankkar Aiyar. "Every aspect of India's economic life requires reform," he said.
"I am not deterred, I am not surprised (to opposition to reforms) ... Only way forward is reform. Yes, we can discuss what reforms are necessary, what are unnecessary. What reforms are priority and what reforms are not," he said.
P Chidambaram said the country cannot afford to make more mistakes and made a case for accelerating reforms to promote growth and contain fiscal deficit.
Referring to the government's recent decision to allow cash transfer of subsidies by using Aadhaar platform, Chidambaram said, "By introduction of cash transfer, there will be huge savings in subsidies. Falsification, duplication, leakages will come down". He said the pilot projects in cash transfer have shown results of 40-90 per cent savings.
"If we do cash transfer of subsidies, to start with scholarship, education loan, move on to LPG subsidies, kerosene subsidies, finally the fertiliser subsidies, I believe there is enormous scope for savings in our subsidy bill. And that could be one area to reform," he said. Chidambaram said it is not always easy to take a right decision in India and any idea in India will be shot down by some "perpetual pessimist".
"...I hope the same fate does not fall to my proposal for a National investment Board (NIB)." NIB, as proposed by Chidambaram, would be an overarching body chaired by the Prime Minister to clear to large infrastructure projects.