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India PM Modi to target record asset sales in first budget: Source

Published on Jul 6, 2014 10:23 AM
 

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - India's new government will seek to raise up to a record US$11.7 billion (S$14.6 billion) in asset sales in its maiden budget this week, a senior government source said, bolstering state finances and buying time for structural reforms to revive a weak economy.

The privatisation target could reach 700 billion rupees (S$14.6 billion), almost equal to all proceeds over the last four years, in a budget Prime Minister Narendra Modi hopes will launch the growth and jobs agenda that in May won him India's biggest election mandate in three decades. The budget is due on Thursday.

"The finance ministry has approached different ministries to increase the divestment target," said the senior official with direct knowledge of the budget process. The previous government had pencilled in sell-off proceeds of 569 billion rupees.

The 63-year-old premier has made a decisive start by naming a streamlined cabinet, approving a slew of infrastructure projects and embarking on what promises to be a whirlwind first year of trade diplomacy.

A labourer prepares to unload sacks of potatoes from a truck at a wholesale vegetable and fruit market in New Delhi July 2, 2014. India's new government will seek to raise up to a record $11.7 billion in asset sales in its maiden budget this week, a senior government source said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
 
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