Govt should stick to fiscal deficit target: Panagariya

New Delhi, Nov 18: The Centre should stick to the fiscal deficit target for 2018-19 and continue with the reforms undertaken during the over four years of the Narendra Modi-led government, former Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said Sunday. The present government, Panagariya said, has made a huge progress in implementing reforms including some difficult structural ones such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) that previous governments had difficulty in introducing.
“Government should not shift its goal posts as far as fiscal deficit target is concerned. Fiscal consolidation has been a key achievement of the government and it has played a central role in macroeconomic stability that has characterised the economy during the last four years,” the eminent economist said.
The government aims to strictly maintain 3.3 per cent fiscal deficit target for 2018-19 fiscal. The NDA government came to power in May 2014 and the next general elections will be held before May 15, 2019.
“At this stage any reforms that require legislative change such as the Higher Education Commission Bill will have to wait till the elections. But reforms that can be done through changes in rules and regulations can still progress. Lateral entry into civil service is one such reform. Privatisation of listed PSUs and closure of sick PSUs are other such reforms,” Panagariya noted.
What matters most is the top leadership, he said, adding that if the top leadership believes in reforms, you can count on their implementation.