India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to step into resolve the difference between Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia over Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) for Plan expenditure in Budget 2013-14.
The GBS for Plan expenditure in Budget 2013-14 was finalised in the previous week after the decision was delayed due to the differences over the matter between Montek Singh and Chidambaram. Reports indicate that the Prime Minister agreed with the finance minister over the figures, which will be revealed next week as part of the union budget.
Chidambaram has been meeting the PM frequently to keep in informed about the developments in the preparation of the union budget. He had sought help from the PM to control the expenditure in order to keep the Centre's fiscal deficit below 5.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product this year and lower in the coming years.
The Planning Commission wanted the GBS for Plan expenditure to be increased 12 per cent to Rs 5.83 lakh crore for 2013-14. The GBS of Rs 5.21 lakh crore for the current financial year is 18 per cent higher than the 2011-12 Budget estimate of Rs 4.41 crore. The PM initially sided with the view that higher expenditure is required to spur up the economy but knows that it is important to strengthen the government's fiscal position.