ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Coming Full Circle

WHEN, in the first flush of economic 'reform', the government seemed to make a fetish of fiscal prudence, it was obvious to many that it was mistaking the symptom for the cause of the malaise of the economy. Ironically, six budgets later, including the so-called 'interim' one for 1996- 97, finance minister Manmohan Singh seems to have successfully ensured that any genuine fiscal reform will remain out of the question for some years to come. Whatever the yardstick used, the fiscal situation has deteriorated in the post-reform period. Some aspects of the deterioration are glaring, while some are yet hidden and will take a while longer to surface in quantitative terms. All in all, the finance minister is leaving a most unenviable legacy to his hapless successor. Nearly one-half of the government's revenue receipts have now to be earmarked for interest payments alone. The

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