Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said the government was making efforts to keep inflation under 4 per cent and steps were being taken to ensure people get essential goods at fair price and on time.
Addressing a press conference near Pune city on the sidelines of a programme, she said steps were being taken to keep inflation at a certain level. Replying to a question on rising prices, the minister said, “As far as inflation is concerned, I have been answering questions (on the issue) in Parliament every time they have been raised. Steps were being taken to keep inflation at one level, for example, duty on imported edible oil is being removed so that affordable oil comes into the country.” She said the issue of inflation should be understood in global context.
“America is experiencing the kind of high inflation which was not witnessed in the last 40 years. Germany is facing high inflation which was not experienced in the last 38 years. We are taking efforts to keep inflation under 4 per cent and efforts were being taken to ensure that people get all goods at fair price and on time,” Sitharaman added.
Asked about the rupee hitting a record low against the US dollar, Sitharaman said the government looks at every aspect of the economy. “Be it inflation, exchange rate…we are looking at everything,” the minister said. Earlier, speaking at the programme, Sitharaman said Mudra loans are given to eligible people without any security. “While launching the Mudra loan scheme (in 2015), Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked banks to offer loans without any security…he asked banks to treat his word as security,” she said.
Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) was launched for providing loans up to 10 lakh to non-corporate, non-farm small/micro enterprises. “Mudra loan is for whom? I would like to ask the Congress, whether this loan is for Ambani and Adani. Mudra Loan is given to small businesses. The Congress, which constantly levels allegations taking names of Ambani and Adani, had given thousands of acres of land in Rajasthan to Adanis for business. I do not have objections if the land is given for business ventures. Let businesses come as employment will get generated,” Sitharaman stated.
She said the central government’s welfare schemes are targeted at vast sections of people. The minister said the Congress government in Rajasthan gave land to Adanis for business but the party unfairly accuses “us of favouring Ambanis and Adanis”. Are schemes like Ujjwala (LPG connections to poor families), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (related to low-cost housing), or providing Rs 6,000 to farmers (under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi) or constructing toilets meant for Ambanis and Adanis or common citizens? she asked.
Sitharaman accused the Congress of creating “bogus accounts and bogus people” under the MNREGA (rural jobs) scheme during their regime at the Centre. “They chest thump that they brought this scheme, but as per the CAG report, the scheme was misused and money was given to bogus people,” she alleged. Sitharaman said the Modi government brought changes and because of them, genuine beneficiaries benefited from the rural jobs scheme during the COVID-19 pandemic.