Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday that inflation is no longer a priority for the government, as it has now come down significantly. Addressing the India Ideas Summit, she said that the priority of the Center is employment generation and income distribution.
She further said that India is chairing the G20 at this challenging time when the global supply chain has been severely affected and the geopolitical equations are unstable.
Nirmala Sitharaman said that the uncertainty in the energy sector is a matter of concern for the Centre. India, like many other countries, will have to rely more heavily on coal in the near future due to global uncertainties and supply chain disruptions.
She said India’s plans to move to renewable energy have suffered a setback and needed tools to reduce its dependence on coal and return to environment-friendly energy resources.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) based retail inflation was at 7.01 per cent in June and 5.59 per cent in July 2021. It was above 7 per cent from April to June this fiscal.
The Finance Minister expressed confidence that the Reserve Bank will keep an eye on volatility emerging from aggressive rate hikes by the US Fed and the European Central Bank. Talking about fiscal management during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Finance Minister said that India is moving ahead with a ‘targeted’ fiscal policy. Referring to the global energy crisis arising out of the Russo-Ukraine war, he said there is uncertainty about the availability of crude oil, natural gas. The Finance Minister urged for intensifying relations between India and the US in all other matters including payment technology.
On policy issues, she further said that there is a need to further strengthen the National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF). The Union Minister also said that the government is keen to bring a Data Protection Bill. On Tuesday, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnav had said that the Center would soon bring a completely new version of the bill.