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S&P positive on budget

By Our Special Correspondent

MUMBAI, FEB. 4. Standard & Poor's, the U.S. based international rating agency, today stated that the interim budget announced by the Government indicates a greater determination to curb fiscal deterioration and the ratings on India could improve if the Government can press on with reforms.

"Despite some modest pre-election tax concessions, the outlook for reducing the deficit appears more upbeat than it has in recent years,'' S&P stated. According to the rating agency, the budget must be seen in the context of the anticipated general election as well as strong growth.

The budget deficit for 2003-04 is estimated to reach 4.8 per cent of GDP from 5.4 per cent in 2002-03, but more importantly the deficit for 2004-05 is boldly projected at 4.4 per cent of GDP.

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