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`Measures to spur growth'

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The Finance Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, leaving North Block after his Ministry announced major duty cuts on Thursday. - Kamal Narang

New Delhi , Jan. 8

THE Finance Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, said that the duty cuts announced today would spur the economy to a higher growth orbit even as he said that the revenue loss from the measures would be "temporary".

"Every taxation measure has certain (revenue) implications. Loss of revenue would be temporary. The steps have not been taken in a fit of amnesia. We have calculated all aspects. The totality of steps are very positive," the Finance Minister told newspersons. He said that the measures were aimed at providing a further push to already buoyant economy.

"The economy is in a roll. The Government reviewed the situation and felt that there was need to take steps to push the entire economy further. I am confident that the measures would greatly enhance growth," Mr Singh said, expressing confidence that the third quarter GDP growth for the current fiscal would be higher than the 8.4 per cent growth recorded in the second quarter.

Rejecting suggestions that the current moves were made with an eye towards the likely announcement of early elections, Mr Singh said that the intent of the Government to reduce Customs duty was already announced in the Budget for 2003-04.

"It is not necessary that the budgetary process should be a one-time `mela' (fair). The budgetary exercise need not be a once-in-a-12 months affair. There is a need for daily management of the economy. I had already announced in the Budget (for 2003-04) that the Customs duties would be lowered," the Finance Minister said. He added that the announcements would not have any effect on the future budgetary exercise.

The Finance Minister, however, declined to comment on the impact of the measures on the fiscal deficit. "I will let you know as and when the figures are placed in Parliament," he said.

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