SBI Ghosh says Budget needs asset sale roadmap

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Monetization of assets is "the only way forward" for the government to reduce pressure on its finances and it must announce a roadmap for these sales in the Union Budget for 2020-21 (Apr-Mar), said Soumya Kanti Ghosh, State Bank of India's group chief economic adviser.

"...the government must begin a roadmap whereby it can monetize assets over the subsequent four years. There could be difficulties in it, but it has no other option but to work on it," Ghosh told Cogencis in an interview.

Hit by falling revenues and the need to keep up its expenditure to ensure growth does not slow further, the Centre is expected to announce a fiscal slippage of 50 basis points for 2019-20. This would take the deficit to a four-year high of 3.8% of GDP.
Next year is unlikely to witness a marked improvement as goods and services tax collections are yet to settle down and personal income tax mop-up is showing little sign of increasing "in a hurry". As such, Ghosh believes monetization of its assets would be a low-hanging fruit that could fetch the government at least 28 trln rupees and mitigate part of the problem.

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