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'India Remains Fastest Growing Economy': Sitharaman Amid Price Rise Criticism

Congress MPs had staged a walkout during Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's speech in Lok Sabha.

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande

Responding to criticism in Lok Sabha over price rise, hike in Goods and Service Tax (GST), and unemployment, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that even though global growth rates had been downgraded in recent times, India still remains the fastest growing economy.

"India has been reduced in terms of the growth it was expected to achieve, but still we remain the fastest-growing. If it was with 8.2 percent (earlier), now it may be 7.4 percent," she said.

"Even as the entire globe's growth is being reviewed, re-assessed, re-estimated, each time, we remain at the highest," the finance minister added.

Several Opposition parties had attacked the central government over the issue of price rise on Monday, calling it "unacceptable".

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Sitharaman also said that there had never been a calamity like COVID-19.

"Looking at India today, compared to what is happening in the rest of the world. Whether it was in 2008 or before that, we've never seen a calamity of this kind. We've never seen a pandemic of this kind," she said.

The minister also acknowledged that the country had problems, but said that all must work together to transcend them.

"It is not that the country doesn't have problems. We have to work together to do it and we are trying to do it. But even as we are trying to do it, and even as the global agencies say other countries are suffering but India is like this, it is a moment that we will all have to be true to ourselves," she said.

'No Question of India Getting Into Recession': Sitharaman

Further, responding to claims that India was on the verge of recession, Sitharaman said that there was no question of it happening.

"The GDP of the US fell 0.9 percent in the second quarter, following a 1.6 percent decline in the first quarter, marking a start of they themselves call an unofficial recession," she said, adding, "There is no question of India getting into recession or stagflation."

The finance minister also said that despite global imbalances caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, the Centre had been successful in keeping inflation below 7 percent.

Congress MPs Walk Out During Sitharaman's Speech

Meanwhile, Congress MPs staged a walkout in protest against Sitharaman's speech on price rise.

Ahead of the speech, several MPs of the opposition parties had slammed the Centre over the rise in prices and GST.

Congress leader Manish Tewari had said, "The country has double-digit inflation for last 14 months, it's the highest in 30 years. Consumer food price index is skyrocketing. GST increased on daily use things like rice, curd, paneer and on pencils and sharpeners, government is not sparing even children."

The Trinamool Congress, meanwhile, alleged that the Centre was "trying to get us into the habit of eating uncooked food".

"The government should understand how cylinder price rise is impacting the common man. The prices have increased by four times in the last few months. How will the poor spend Rs 1,100?" TMC MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar asked.

On the other hand, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule took a dig at Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, saying, "Nirmala ji, you're a woman and you run a household too. You must be aware of how price rise is affecting everyone."

She was, however, shut down by the house chair.

BSP, BJD Join Oppn in Criticism of Centre

Further, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which are known to tread the middle path between the Centre and the Opposition on many vital issues, also did not back down in their criticism of the hike in prices.

BSP MP Sangeeta Azad hit out at the government saying that imposing GST on food items amid rising unemployment in the country was "unacceptable".

"Further, in between COVID and monkeypox concerns, imposing GST on various aspects in the healthcare sector is equivalent to harassment of the common man," she added.

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Pinaki Misra, on the other hand, attributed the deteriorating economic situation to "lazy taxation" by the finance ministry.

"The current situation calls for more prudent economics, rather than, and pardon me for saying so Finance Minister, lazy taxation," he said.

Further, adding to the conversation around impact of price rise on households, he said, "Price rise is making housewives and youth cry tears of blood."

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Responding to the allegations, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Nishikant Dubey said, "If we see Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Singapore, everywhere inflation is rising and jobs are getting lost. Amid such a situation if the poor are getting two-time meal free of cost then shouldn't they thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi?"

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande
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