WPI fell for 18 months under NDA government, Jitley tells Lok Sabha

New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that India’s wholesale price index (WPI) was in the negative for 18 months in succession till recently, which goes to the credit of the NDA government.

This is in contrast to high prices that ruled during the last two years of the previous UPA government till May 2014, Jaitley said in the Lok Sabha while replying to a debate on rising prices.

Jaitley was replying to Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of the government in the Lok Sabha over the spiralling prices of essential commodities and pulses.

“After the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) came to power, WPI remained in the negative for 18 months in succession. Then in May, it rose to 0.8 per cent and to 1.6 per cent in June,” he said.

The minister said during the last two years of the United Progressive Alliance government, food inflation was moving over 11-12 per cent, while the wholesale price inflation ranged over 6-7 per cent.

“This (situation) is a result of our steps taken in each sector to see that inflation is contained,” he added.

“High prices of dal/pulses is a concern for the entire nation. The government has taken steps to address this mismatch in production and demand. The government is taking steps to contain inflation as CPI (consumer price index) in 2012-13 was in double digits and around 9.5 in 2013-14,” Jaitley said.

The minister said the seasonal rise in food prices before monsoon is common.

He said he was hopeful that the production of pulses will rise to 20 million tonnes this fiscal.

“The government is striving to create a buffer stock of 20 lakh tonnes,” the minister added.

India’s retail inflation rose for the second straight month in May to 5.76 per cent from 5.47 per cent the month before due to sharp spike in food prices, data showed last month.

In this connection, the Reserve Bank of India’s next bi-monthly monetary policy review is due on August 2, which will be the last to be undertaken by RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan as his tenure ends in early September.

–IANS

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