Home / News / India /  FM Nirmala Sitharaman justifies the high cost of food prices; Here's what she said | 10-point
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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday explained the 'price rise' in the country. In an hour-long speech, the FM highlighted the work of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government. She said India's economy is in a healthy condition by citing data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and prominent economists such as Raghuram Rajan. The FM also gave the reply to questions related to GST on staple food items such as flour, rice, and milk.

Here are 10 significant statements from Nirmala Sitharaman's speech in Lok Sabha on Monday:

1. No question of India getting into recession or stagflation: FM Sitharaman

The finance minister said that the entire world is reeling from the Covid pandemic and war, yet India's economy has performed well despite humongous challenges. She said India recovered admirably from all the challenges and the Reserve Bank of India and the Centre's decisions helped in stabilizing the economy. Citing Bloomberg's report she said India has zero chances of slipping into recession. “India remains the fastest growing economy in the assessment of global agencies," she added. She further cited International Monetary Fund (IMF) data and said that the country is in a far better position than its peers.

2. India has managed to keep inflation at 7% or below that level

Highlighting some of the key economic factors of India such as GDP, and banks' NPAs among others, FM Sitharaman praised the work of the Central government. "Gross NPAs of banks at a six-year low of 5.9%; India's debt to GDP ratio at 56.21% in FY22, much lower than many nations," she said. FM Sitharaman said that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the omicron virus, and tension with China on the border, the Centre has managed to keep inflation at 7% or below that level. " We will also reduce the inflation further," she added.

3. Opposition members walk out during Sitharaman's speech

Several Congress, DMK, and TMC members walked out of Lok Sabha during Sitharaman's reply to the debate on price rise. Congress leader Manish Tiwari said that the Centre's reply on inflation is ‘hunky dory’. Tiwari said, “Finance Minister's reply was disappointing. The attitude of the government is there is no inflation in the country, people are not suffering. Everything is hunky dory. If that's your response to concerns of opposition articulating the voice of 140 crore people of the country, why listen".

4. Funerals, crematoriums exempted from GST: Sitharaman

The Finance Minister clarified that there is no GST on funerals, crematoriums, and mortuary services.

5. No GST on loose edible items: FM Sitharaman

In her reply to Lok Sabha, Sitharaman spoke further about GST on food items such as flour, rice, milk, and lassi, among others. She asserted that the Centre has not imposed GST on any loose items so that poor people don't face any problems. "The GST is only on packaged food," she claimed. "There is no GST on ICU, emergency services, and room rent below 5,000," the FM added.

6. Several steps have been taken to make imports cheaper, Sitharaman asserted

The FM claimed that PM Modi-led Central Government has taken several initiatives to make imports cheaper such as--import duty of crude palm oil, sunflower, and soybean oil has been drastically cut so that the public can get cheap edible oil.

7.Central Government has always paid attention towards the upliftment of poor people: FM

The government has taken care of the poor. 24.85 lakh crore has been spent on food grains, fertilizers, and fuel. In 10 years of UPA-Congress, only 13.9 lakh crores were spent on subsidies, she claimed.

8. Gross NPAs of banks at six-year low of 5.9%: Nirmala Sitharaman

Gross NPAs of banks at six-year low of 5.9%; India's debt to GDP ratio at 56.21% in financial year 2022, much lower than many nations.

9. GST collection rose 28% to touch the second-highest level in July: FM

The GST collection rose 28 per cent to touch the second-highest level of 1.49 lakh crore in July. GST, introduced in July 2017, touched a record high of 1.68 lakh crore in April 2022.

This is the sixth time that the monthly GST collection crossed the 1.40-lakh-crore mark since the inception of Goods and Services Tax and the fifth month at a stretch since March 2022, she said.

10. India has sufficient forex reserves; economic fundamentals are perfect

The Finance Minister emphasized that due to the measures taken by the government, India is in a much better position than most countries.

"Repeatedly in the assessment of global agencies, India remains the fastest growing economy in the assessment of global agencies. This House irrespective of the party should feel proud of the country and its people. State governments have helped," she stated in the Lok Sabha.

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