Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday began the presentation of Union Budget 2010-2011 with a renewed sense of optimism over the country's growth and clear signals from policymakers to bring deficits back to manageable levels.
Beginning his speech, the finance minister said the Indian economy had weathered the crisis well but the main challenge was to make growth inclusive. The focus is to get a double-digit GDP growth rate, he said. Social sector reforms will also be on the agenda, Mukherjee said.
Economic growth in 2009-10 may turn out to be higher than 7.2%, the finance minister said | Hope to breach the 10% mark in not too distant future, he added.
Expectations are high from the 74-year-old veteran politician, who has tabled four budgets in the past, that he will address the twin issue of bringing down prices while ensuring higher overall growth for the economy.
At the same time, he is also under pressure to roll back, albeit gradually, the $37-billion stimuli announced since December 2008 to help India weather the global economic slowdown.
The Economic Survey 2009-10 presented on Thursday favoured the gradual rollback of stimulus measures that were introduced following the global economic meltdown in late 2008. However on the eve of the Union Budget, Mukherjee talked about the measures that would be taken by the government to deal with 17.85 percent food inflation and certain aspects of the economy.