No question of India getting into recession or stagflation: Nirmala Sitharaman

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Partaking in a debate on price rise, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha today categorically refused to associate terms like- stagflation and recession with the current state of Indian economy. “India’s general debt is also in a good position compared to many other countries,” she said.

The FM said that there is no question of India getting into stagflation or recession. “Gross NPAs of banks at a six-year low of 5.9 pc; India’s debt to GDP ratio at 56.21 pc in FY22, much lower than many nations.”

“The government has acted to reduce cost of imports, drastically lowered duties on edible oils. Prices of edible oil have corrected sharply”, the finance minister added. Further, highlighting the strength of Indian economy, she said: “India has sufficient forex reserves; economic fundamentals are perfect.”

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Her response comes after the issue of price rise resulted in a fierce showdown between the Narendra Modi government and the opposition. “So, I fully credit the people of India for this…even against adversity we are able to stand up and be recognised as the fastest growing economy,” she said.

Speaking on government’s GST tally, Sitharaman said: “Today morning we announced GST collection for entire month of July. In July 2022, we garnered the second highest level ever since the introduction of GST – which is Rs 1.49 Lakh Crores. This is the fifth consecutive month that collections have been above Rs 1.4 Lakh Crores.”

“We’ve never seen a pandemic of this kind…all of us were trying to make sure that people in our constituencies are given extra help. I recognise that everybody -MPs & state govts- has played their role. Otherwise, India wouldn’t be where it is compared to rest of the world,” added the finance minister.

She was interrupted by the opposition MPs who questioned her claims on the economy. Later, the Congress MPs staged a walkout from the house while she was replying in the Lok Sabha. “Congress MPs are walking out, their hypocrisy has been exposed,” she remarked.

Slamming the government over the GST hike, Congress leader Manish Tewari said, “You have increased the GST on flour, curd, paneer, pencil and sharpener. You did not spare even children.” The Congress leader said he was “hurt” when 18 per cent GST was imposed on “crematoriums”. Hitting out at the government over the rise in fuel prices, Tewari said the Centre collected Rs 27 lakh crore through “tax, excise duty and dividend” in the petroleum sector to swell its coffers but did not pass on the benefits to the people. (Economic Times )