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    India Unveils Budget to Tackle Inflation and Corruption


    by NTDTelevision

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    India's finance minister unveils a budget designed to tackle corruption in government as well as reduce inflation. He says corruption is a problem the country must tackle collectively.

    India's finance minister presents the annual budget on Monday, amid mounting concerns over food inflation and a policy rift in the government.

    The minister has tried to ease inflation-hit voters' pain with a budget heavy on spending for food, fuel and fertilizer subsidies, while selectively lifting taxes to meet fiscal targets.

    On another front, the government's image has been severely tainted due to a spate of recent corruption scandals.

    The minister says regulatory and administration standards are not enough to support the rule of law.

    [Pranab Mukherjee, Indian Finance Minister]:
    "Corruption is a problem that we have to fight collectively."

    The finance minister says that spiraling prices are a worry, despite a decrease in the inflation rate.

    India is in a bind over inflation, which has prompted street protests and drawn criticism from the opposition.

    [Pranab Mukherjee, Indian Finance Minister]:
    "The total food inflation declined from 20.2 percent in February 2010 to less than half, at 9.3 percent in January 2011. But it still remains a concern."

    Inflation, combined with a high fiscal deficit, has led the central bank to call for fiscal consolidation.

    Mukherjee says he expects the economy to grow 9 percent in the upcoming fiscal year, and for inflation to ease.

    [Pranab Mukherjee, Indian Finance Minister]:
    "I expect the average inflation to be lower this year and the current account deficit smaller and better managed, with higher domestic savings rate and stable capital flows."

    But Mukherjee says the economy has weathered the effects of the global financial downturn.