The immediate priority of the Government was to see that the Rupee stabilizes at a reasonable level now as there had been some appreciation last week, Treasury Secretary Sajith (S.R.) Attygalle said. There is some hope that the Rupee will stabilize at a practical level, he said, adding that it was still unknown at what level it will.
“For instance, we cannot still say that it will appreciate to Rs 150 to the Dollar right now. We will have to wait and see,” he said.He said that the real issue was the massive capital outflow which resulted in the Rupee depreciating to 177 against the dollar and the priority was to stabilise it.
When asked as to how the formalities of the Vote on Account were going to proceed with and over what period of time, he said that there was a ‘logistics problem’ in the allocation of funds to the respective Ministries until the Ministries were gazetted.
Quoting an example, he said that “the earlier allocation was for the Ministry of Highways and Higher Education, but now the allocation should come for Higher Education now that it has been merged with Education in the latest reshuffle.” However, he said that the Vote on Account will be generally based on the expenditure figures of the first four months of the 2018 Budget.
He also said that the economic growth for 2019 should vastly improve and settle at around 5 per cent or more, from the dismal 2018 growth which should settle at around 3.5 per cent by the end of December.He said that the 2018 economy was subdued due to low growth in agriculture but there was a lot of hope for 2019 with the arrival of the monsoonal rains. He also said that 50-60 per cent of the population was dependent on agriculture as a livelihood despite the sector contributing to a mere 8 per cent of the GDP.He said that it was also positive that hydro power accounted for around 95 per cent of the total power generation with the arrival of the monsoonal rains.