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Inflation hidden, unfair tax on poor, middle class; govt broke the back of high prices: Goyal

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Dion Global

01 Feb 2019

Asserting that inflation is a hidden and unfair tax on the poor and middle class, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said the government has restrained the "back-breaking" inflation and brought it down to an average of 4.6 per cent.

The average rate of inflation during 2009-2014 was a back-breaking 10.1 per cent, Goyal said while presenting the Budget for 2019-20 in the Lok Sabha.

The then Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) admitted as much when he had said, "We have also not been as successful in controlling persistent inflation as we would have wished. This is primarily because food inflation has increased," Goyal said.

"In contrast, our government broke the back of back-breaking inflation. We brought down average inflation to 4.6 per cent which is lower than the inflation during the tenure of any other government. In fact inflation in December 2018 was down to 2.19 per cent only," the finance minister said.

He added that if his government had not controlled the inflation, Indian families would have ended up paying around 35-40 per cent more on daily basic needs such as food, travel, consumer durables and housing.

The minister said India has contained the double-digit inflation despite generating a high growth rate.

"From being the 11th largest economy in the world in 2013-14, we are today the 6th largest in the world," he noted.

The Reserve Bank (RBI) has cut the retail inflation target (a key input to decide monetary policy) to 2.7-3.2 per cent for the second half of the current fiscal ending March 2019 on expectations of a normal monsoon and moderate food prices.

RBI's six-member Monetary Policy Committee is scheduled to meet between February 4-6 to announce its concluding bi-monthly monetary policy for the current fiscal.