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Jaitley hints at more cuts in spending, says government shouldn’t live on borrowed money

Having already crossed the fiscal deficit target in November, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday hinted at more cuts in spending so as to contain it within limits for the current fiscal, saying he does not believe in living on borrowed money.

“We’re trying to rationalise expenditure as far as the government is concerned because we do not want the government to live on borrowed money indefinitely,” he told a gathering of industrialists and planners here via video conferencing.

“The whole concept of spending beyond your means and leaving the next generation in debt to repay what we are overspending today is never prudent fiscal policy,” he said.

The additionally hinted spending cuts would be over and above 10 per cent that the government has already announced to meet the budgeted 4.1 per cent fiscal deficit target which was crossed in November itself, four months ahead of the end of the financial year on March 31.

Ahead of the Budget 2015-16 to be unveiled later this month, Jaitley hinted at a stable tax regime, saying that ‘no unfair effort’ will be made by states and the Centre to mop up revenues. Stating that the past ten years were a decade of missed opportunities, he said the government is determined to pursue the path of reforms.

“We could have been on the faster track if we had kept up the momentum from 1991 to 2004. But a series of indecisions and wrong decisions created a situation for us where we were almost missing the opportunity.

“But history has revisited that opportunity to us, and the present government is very determined to doggedly pursue a path of reforms and take India to a high growth trajectory,” Jaitley said, and sought the active co-operation of the industry and policy makers.

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