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Modi 365: Inflation Under Check; Global Economy, Agri A Challenge, Says FM Arun Jaitley

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| May 25 , 2015 , 19:46 IST
modi jaitleyFinance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said inflation has been brought under control in the past one year but global economy and agrarian situation as well as domestic investments pose challenge to the Indian economy. Addressing his second press conference in as many days to highlight achievements of Narendra Modi government in first year in office, Jaitley said "restlessness" of people for the economy to grow at a faster pace should put pressure on Congress to shed anti-growth and anti-development agenda. "In the past one year inflation has been under control to a great extent...Overall inflation situation has been much better than it has been in the past one decade," he told reporters at the BJP headquarters here. While the decline in international oil and commodity prices have helped cool inflation, the government too has taken steps to control food inflation that has led to both wholesale and retail inflation come down from a peak of 11 per cent, he said. Asked about the challenges facing the economy, Finance Minister said global economic situation and domestic agrarian scenario were a challenge. "Domestic investment has to pick up, that is a challenge and even though on economic front we have succeeded in some areas...these are three areas where there are challenges," he said, adding the global economic situation was beyond the control of the government. Listing out initiatives of the government, Jaitley said the financial inclusion and social security schemes have been a big success with over 15 crore Jan Dhan accounts being opened and 7.5 crore people availing life and accidental insurance cover under the Jan Suraksha and Jeevan Jyoti schemes. The government, he said, wants to more than double the insurance coverage to 40-50 per cent in the near-term. With 11 per cent of population having pension plans, the Atal Pension Yojana wants to "make India into a far bigger pensioned society". "If India grows by 7.5 per cent, India should never be satisfied. We have to aspire for more and this aspiration and restlessness of people should be a pressure on parties, especially Congress, which have adopted an anti-growth and anti development agenda," Jaitley said. The wholesale inflation dropped to a record low of (-)2.65 per cent and the retail inflation was at a four year low of 4.87 per cent in April. When asked if it's time for RBI to cut interest rate, Jaitley replied in the affirmative. "My views are well-known. It is (the time)," he said at a press conference on completion of one year of the government. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is scheduled to announce its monetary policy on June 2. The central bank has lowered its policy rate twice so far in 2015, but maintained status quo at the recent policy meet on April 7 in the wake of unseasonal rains impacting food prices.

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