Budget has buffer for extraneous shocks: Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance minister Nirmala SitharamanNEW DELHI: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday that the government has kept a buffer for extraneous factors that may have a bearing on the economy so that vulnerable segments such as farmers and consumers can be protected from the higher burden of international prices.At an event organised by industry chamber Assocham, the minister made it clear that having allocated over Rs 10 lakh crore for capital expenditure during the next financial year, a key challenge would be to ensure that the money is spent.”Most often, the government gives allocation, the justification for not reaching targets would be that these are long term projects, there are spillovers and therefore, this year, the target will not be achieved. But we have maintained the momentum in achieving the target and that will be the challenge for me, reaching the target of Rs 10 lakh crore in 12 months… The challenge is more in achieving it,” she said. She also said petroleum products can be included in GST framework once an agreement in this regard is reached among states.Besides, she said the government has managed to stick to the fiscal consolidation path charted by it without anything being “hidden or kept under the carpet” in the budget numbers.