Jaipur: Indian Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said that the government is taking several steps to control inflation and would continue to focus on it.
During the post-budget press conference in Jaipur, on a query over whether Budget FY24 would reduce inflation, the Union Finance Minister said, "The government is taking several steps to control inflation and will continue to focus on it." "We have taken a lot of steps, for example, encouraging farmers to sow pulses so that the production of pulses in India increases in the coming sowing season," Sitharaman added.
As a short-term step, the minister said "Wherever we are importing, whether masoor, moong or whatever pulses, the government has reduced the import duty to single-digit or has completely removed it. It has made imports convenient and pulses are available quickly and cheaply in India." "The import of edible oil has been made almost free (tax) for the last three consecutive years, due to which palm crude or palm refined oil has also been (route) opened so that the supply of edible oil is easy and sufficient."
On another query over the Directorate of Enforcement's ongoing raids on some Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh, Nirmala Sitharaman said no action is taken with a sense of revenge.
The finance minister said, "Any agency first collects data and only then action is taken. No action is executed with sense of revenge."
She also said that the Congress party should learn to listen while sitting in the Parliament.
The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) on Monday conducted fresh searches at nearly a dozen locations in Chhattishgarh in mining and alleged coal levy scam. The places searched include residential and office premises of various Congress leaders namely Ram Gopal Agarwal, Girish Devangan, RP Singh, Vinod Tiwari ad Sunny Agrawal, said sources.
The Finance minister also said if any party or state government wants to bring petrol and diesel under the purview of Goods and Services Tax (GST), then it would be discussed only once it is placed before the GST Council.
The Finance minister was addressing a query about bringing petrol and diesel under the ambit of GST and on the rising price of cooking gas at a press conference in Jaipur on Monday.
She said it does not depend on the government and only the GST Council can decide on this, adding that if any party or state government wants to bring petrol diesel under the purview of GST, it would be discussed only after placing before the Council.
The finance minister added that it can be brought within the ambit of GST only with the consent of all states.
The conference was also attended by the Union Ministers of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary and Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad. Finance Secretary TV Somanathan and Chief Economic Advisor V Anantha Nageswaran were also present at the conference.
Sitharaman has also refused the demand of the Rajasthan government for the release of funds deposited towards the New Pension Scheme (NPS), the minister informed the gathering at the conference.
"I don't want to comment on the issue of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) but the state government has promised it on its own and now expects that the fund should be released to the government," the finance minister said, adding, "It should not be expected. It is the money entitled to the employee and should be given to him only."
When a journalist asked about cryptocurrency legislation, the minister said that the government was working on it and in the meantime, a campaign was going on to sensitise the youth about the risk factors involved with this.
During the post-Budget conference in Mumbai on February 11, Sitharaman said Indian regulators are "very experienced" and seized of the matter related to the Adani Group and are "on their toes" to handle the situation that has arisen following a report by US-based short seller Hindenburg Research.