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India to Borrow $ 93 billion to Fund Buget
India's Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced plans to borrow a record 4.51 trillion rupees ($93 billion) to fund budget spending on roads, power and aid for the poor. Stocks, bonds and the currency slumped. Unveiling the budget for the year to March 2010, Mukherjee said India's fiscal deficit is expected to widen to a 16-year high of 6.8 percent of gross domestic product from a revised 6 percent. Indirect taxes will be streamlined through a goods and services tax, he said in his speech in New Delhi today.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government is spending more to speed up economic growth and reduce poverty in a nation where malnutrition is worse than Sub-Saharan Africa. Stocks and the currency weakened on investor disappointment that Mukherjee didn't announce major asset sales and concerns a ballooning budget deficit may lead to a credit-rating cut. "The budget has failed to instill confidence as to how the government will achieve fiscal consolidation," said Rupa Rege Nitsure, chief economist at state-owned Bank of Baroda in Mumbai. "With this kind of a deficit, there is a possibility that India's rating may be downgraded." The Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensitive Index fell the most in six months, declining 5.8 percent to 14,043.40 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Mumbai. The rupee weakened 1.3 percent, the most in almost six weeks, to 48.5375 against the dollar. The yield on the most-traded 6.07 percent note due May 2014 surged 22 basis points, the most since March 17, to 6.45 percent.read source article