I have drawn red lines for Budget: P Chidambaram
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Citing the example of kerosene, Chidambaram said if the subsidy on it is corrected completely, it would make the fuel unaffordable to the rural poor and they would demand wood for cooking purpose that could lead to destruction of forest.
"One has to balance these things and take a prudent decision. Some subsidies in India are indeed merit subsidies. What might appear to be non-merit subsidies from the vantage point of London and Frankfurt, some of them are indeed merit subsidies in India.
"So my approach, our approach is merit subsidies – we have to maintain a certain level of merit subsidies but non merit subsidies we should eliminate over a period of time," he said.
Asked about the message from his four nation roadshows, Chidambaram said it was that India achieved a high growth rate and adopted correct policies between 2004 and 2009.
"We were affected by the external crisis. It's possible that we have made some mistakes too. The world thought that we had stumbled. If we have stumbled, we have picked ourselves up now.
"We are back on our feet and we are moving on the path of fiscal consolidation and structural reforms and promoting high growth. We hope to be able to repeat what we achieved between 2004 and 2009. And India is open, competitive, and it's a place to do business," he said.
To a question about what the mistakes were, he said there was an opinion now that the third stimulus package given to the industry could have been avoided.
"There is also a view that guidelines could have been written in a different way. Again, that is the benefit of hindsight. I am not saying there were mistakes. All I am
pointing out there is a perception that we may have we may have made some mistakes. And if that is the perception, it is my duty to correct that perception," Chidambaram said.
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