Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in Parliament on Monday said that there was no question of India slipping into a stagflation or recession.
“There is zero probability of India slipping into a stage of recession,” Sithraman said while replying to a debate in the Lok Sabha on price rise. “Even though there are several major economies [globally] who are in the substantial risky position of recession.”
Since the beginning of the Monsoon Session on July 18, the Opposition has been demanding a debate on inflation by suspending all other businesses. However, on Monday, MPs of the Congress staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha during Sitharaman’s speech, saying they were not satisfied with her response, according to NDTV.
In her reply, Sithraman told the Lok Sabha that India remained the fastest growing economy in the world as per the assessment of global agencies.
“This House irrespective of the party should feel proud of the country and its people,” she said. “State governments have also helped in this.”
The finance minister said that despite disruptions caused in the economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and border tensions with China, the Centre has managed to keep inflation at 7% or below that level.
“And that has to be recognised,” she remarked. “During UPA [Congress-led United Progressive Alliance] rule from 2004 to 2014, the inflation went into double digits. During that period, the inflation was above 9% for 22 consecutive months.”
India’s retail inflation came down to 7.04% year-on-year in May, after touching an eight-year high of 7.79% in April. However, the price rise indicator remained above the Reserve Bank of India’s tolerance band of 6% for the fifth month in a row.
Sitharaman claimed that while 4,000 banks in China were being reported bankrupt, the gross non-performing assets of scheduled commercial banks in India were at a five-year low of 5.9% in 2022. She also pointed out that the monthly Goods and Services Tax collection touched its second-highest level of Rs 1.49 lakh crore in July.
“This is the sixth time that the monthly GST collection crossed the Rs 1.40-lakh-crore mark since the inception of GST and the fifth month at a stretch since March 2022,” Sitharaman said.
Meanwhile, the Congress after staging a walkout, said that the attitude of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government made it seem like there was no inflation in the country.
“People are not suffering...Everything is hunky dory,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said, according to ANI. “If that’s your response to concerns of opposition articulating the voice of 140 crore people of the country, why listen.”
The Shiromani Akali Dal, a former ally of the BJP, also contended that the reply of the government on the matter of price rise is disappointing.
“They [Centre] wasted 10 days and Rs 150 crores to hold the discussion on price rise,” party leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal said, according to ANI. “They say there is no inflation in the country but after demonetization, covid lockdowns, people are facing great issues.”