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India's Modi goes slow on 'big bang' budget reform

Published on Jul 13, 2014 11:49 AM
In this photograph taken on July 4, 2014, an Indian child waits for customers at his stall in a vegetable market in New Delhi. -- PHOTO: AFP 

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The maiden budget from India's new right-wing government has promised a return to high growth - but disappointed some who hoped premier Narendra Modi might use his thumping mandate to unleash radical change.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government opted for small steps in last week's budget, in what it called "the beginning of a journey" after winning in May the biggest electoral majority in 30 years.

While some economists felt Finance Minister Arun Jaitley should have been bolder, Deepak Lalwani, head of financial consultancy Lalcap, told AFP it was not "realistic to have 'big bang' reforms so quickly".

Jaitley pledged faster economic growth, tighter fiscal discipline, greater openness to foreign investment and revamped infrastructure.

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