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Govt’s targeted steps minimised impact of inflation-led prices on poor: FM

Constant support by the government through food and cash transfers during the Covid-19 pandemic has helped in having a negligible impact of inflation-led price hike on the poor and marginalised, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

Quoting the United Nations Development Programme’s report on the cost of living crisis in developing countries, Sitharaman said inflation, supply chain disruptions, the Ukraine war will push zero per cent of India’s population below the poverty line.

The report by UNDP states that impact of inflation on India’s poor will be negligible as targeted transfers have helped the poor in coping with price spikes.

“Well-tailored programmes to ensure that people do not run the risk of going into poverty have worked,” Sitharaman said Tuesday.

The UNDP report shows the impact on the poor based on three income categories. Its findings show inflation will push zero per cent of India’s population below the poverty line of $1.90/day; about 0.02 per cent of population below the poverty line of $3.30/day and 0.04 per cent of population below the poverty line of $5.50/day.

This has been ensured through the fiscal package announced during the Covid-19 package, Sitharaman said.

The government provided 5 kg of free rations per person/month under the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. About 100.3 million metric tonnes of foodgrains were allocated under the scheme benefitting about 80l million from April 2020-September 2022.

The government has also transferred Rs 500 per month for three months to women Jan Dhan account holders to about 200 million, Sitharaman said.

“The government had, from the beginning of the pandemic, implemented a policy wherein those at the bottom of the pyramid were provided immediate and constant support through food and cash transfers,” the FM said.

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