India’s external debt is lowest, says Chidambaram

December 12th, 2008 - 5:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS) Home Minister P. Chidambaram Friday said in parliament that India’s external debt is the lowest among the world’s 57 biggest economies, including the US and Britain.Replying to a question in Lok Sabha, the former finance minister said the external debt in proportion to the gross domestic product (GDP) is 18.9 percent. It is the lowest among other large economies.

Chidambaram also said there was no need to worry about the fiscal deficit.

“If fiscal deficit crosses three percent of the GDP it is not a cause for concern. We had brought down the fiscal deficit from 4.5 percent to 2.5 percent,” the minister said.

Most of the seats in both the treasury and opposition were vacant Friday, a day after the house showed a rare show of national unity in India’s parliament to dub Pakistan as the “epicentre of terrorism” for the Nov 26 Mumbai carnage and vowed to bring to justice the killers and their patrons.

During the zero hour, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) MPs raised the issue of the Babli reservoir, which is allegedly being built on Godavari river by Maharashtra.

TDP leader Yerran Naidu said Maharashtra had not sought permission from Andhra Pradesh and Central Water Commission (CWC) to build the reservoir. He demanded that the central government intervene in the matter.

MPs from Andhra Pradesh said the reservoir and other irrigation projects being undertaken by Maharashtra would adversely affect the Shriram Sagar project in Andhra Pradesh.

“The Shriram Sagar reservoir will be drained out,” he said, adding that it will cause a drought in seven Andhra Pradesh districts in the Telangana region.

To protest the government’s alleged negligence of their demand, the TDP and TRS MPs walked out of the house.

Earlier, the house observed one minute’s silence to pay tribute to the security personnel, two parliament security assistants, a gardener and a journalist who made the “supreme sacrifice” when terrorists attacked the parliament house on Dec 13, 2001.

The seventh anniversary of the parliament house attack would be observed Saturday.

Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal said “the threat of terrorism still looms large as can be seen in the recent terrorist attacks in Assam and Mumbai”.

“Our security forces have time and again, by their acts of bravery, foiled the attempts of terrorists to spread terror even at the cost of paying a heavy price in the process,” he said.

“The house salutes the dedication and sacrifices made by our security forces to protect the unity, integrity and sovereignty of our country,” Atwal added.

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