Inflation no longer red-lettered; jobs, growth are priorities: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said inflation was a concern but no longer a “red-lettered” word. She added that job creation and equitable income distribution were top priorities of the government, while ensuring that the country remains on the path of growth. She added that the new bill on data privacy would be ready “soon”.

“Some of course are red-lettered (priorities), some may not be. Red-lettered ones would of course be jobs, equitable wealth distribution and making sure India is moving on the path of growth,” she said, adding that in that sense inflation is not red-lettered.

“I hope it doesn’t surprise many of you. We have shown that in the past couple of months that we were able to bring it to a manageable level,” she said addressing the US-India Business Council’s India Ideas Summit.

Retail inflation softened to 6.71% in July due to moderation in food prices but remained above the Reserve Bank’s comfort level of 6% for the seventh consecutive month.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI)-based retail inflation has remained above 7% from April to June.

Sitharaman exuded confidence that the Reserve Bank would manage the volatility emerging from the aggressive rate hike stance of the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.

Talking about fiscal management during the Covid-19 period, she said India with a targeted fiscal policy managed through a challenging time without printing money.

Sitharaman further underlined that India has the potential to contribute 30% to the global GDP in the next 20 years.

She added that India will be taking over the G-20 chair at a very challenging time. However, emerging economies are the ones that are showing the full potential to lead the global economy in the next few decades.

“We will be taking over the G-20 chair at a very challenging time, but it is equally heart-warming that Indonesia, India and South Africa are all emerging markets and this is important because emerging markets are showing potential to lead the global economy in the next 50-60 years.”

Data Privacy Bill

Sitharaman said India will introduce a new data privacy bill “sooner rather than later”. She said the information technology minister was working on it. “We will have the new data privacy bill, which will be a product of consultations and will address every such concern most of us have had on the privacy bill,” she said.

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