The Indian government announced a package of indirect tax cuts on Monday to breathe life into spending and investment, and trumpeted its record of growth and reform over the past decade in its last budget before an election it looks set to lose.
Amid uproar in parliament as lawmakers shouted him down, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram also announced that he would contain the fiscal deficit for 2013/13 (April-March) at 4.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), below his target of 4.8 percent.
Indian businessmen watching the speech were further cheered by his estimate that the fiscal deficit would shrink further to 4.1 percent in 2014/15.
Monday's budget was an interim exercise ahead of the election due by May.
Opinion polls predict voters will oust the government led by the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty's Congress party amid widespread discontent with its mismanagement of the economy, high inflation and corruption scandals.