New Delhi, Jun 6 (UNI) Vowing that the government was willing to take further measures to bring down the inflation rate, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today took on the BJP for politicising the issue while offering no concrete suggestions to check the price rise and exuded confidence that price stability, robust and inclusive growth will be achieved in the medium to long term.
In a statement, Mr Chidambaram criticised the 'Resolution on Prices' adopted by the BJP National Executive, saying that it is an "exercise in self-deception and is aimed at spreading disinformation." "I would be the first to admit that we have not overcome all our problems. Notwithstanding the many successes under the UPA government, we admit that inflation is a problem. It was a problem under the BJP and NDA government too", he said.
Mr Chidambaram said the current inflation is almost entirely due to the relentless rise in crude oil prices. This rise has also triggered the increase in commodity prices and because bio-diesel is produced from food items such as maize, sugarcane and palm oil, food prices have also come under pressure.
"We have taken fiscal, monetary and administrative measures and we are willing to take more measures. But to criticise the government on the ground of inflation without going into the causes of the current inflation trends and without offering any concrete solution would amount to merely politicising the issue", he said.
In 2000-01, (when the NDA was in power), in 48 out of 52 weeks, the WPI was over six per cent; in 22 of those weeks, it was over seven per cent; and in 12 of those weeks, it was over eight per cent, Mr Chidambaram said.
"These are facts that cannot be wished away. During the entire six years rule of the BJP/ NDA, crude oil prices per barrel ranged from 2 dollars a barrel to 28 dollars a barrel. How I wish that the UPA government had enjoyed such benign crude oil prices. We have not been so fortunate", he said.
The Finance Minister contested the claim of the BJP that it inherited a bankrupt economy nor that it left one which was entirely robust.
"The legacy of the BJP/ NDA was not only a low growth rate. At the end of 1997-98, the fiscal deficit was 4.8 per cent and when the NDA left office after six years., the fiscal deficit was reduced marginally to 4.5 per cent. The revenue deficit at the end of 1997-98 was 3.6 per cent. Need anything more be said about BJP/NDA fiscal management?," he said.
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