File photo of Nirmala Sitharaman. Photograph:( ANI )
Sitharaman said the onion price surge was due to factors such as a reduction in the area of cultivation and production
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday elaborated on key measures being adopted by the center to bring prices under control. The minister dismissed opposition charges about fear factor in the economy and said that that government has taken a series of steps to check the steep rise in onion prices including imports.
Sitharaman, who was replying to the debate on the first batch of supplementary demands for grants for 2019-20, said that onion price surge was due to factors such as a reduction in the area of cultivation and production.
The minister, who laid stress on greater scientific storage of onions also said in response to opposition interruptions, that she does not eats much of onions and garlic and comes from a family where there is not much consumption of the two kitchen ingredients.
She also blamed the UPA government for non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks and alleged that loans were given over recommendations made on phone calls between 2008 and 2014.
The House passed the demands for grants allowing the government to spend an additional Rs 21,246 crore, including over Rs 8,820 crore for the newly formed Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh in the current fiscal.
She also said that more devolution of funds to the union territories will take place through the 15th Finance Commission.
The minister said FDI inflows were growing and "fear factor does not exist" for investments.
Noting that both revenue expenditure and capital expenditure of government had gone up, she said the government has been able to save Rs 1.41 lakh crore due to the implementation of a direct benefit transfer scheme.
She said 6.21 crore people have been given MNREGA employment this year.
Referring to points made by opposition members during the debate, she said "stressed accounts were not recognized as NPAs" during the UPA government.
She said the opposition was shedding "crocodile tears" over the problems of IDBI bank and its advances shot up due to "aggressive lending" from 2008-2014.