Performance of Indian rupee better than its peers, Nirmala Sitharaman tells Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi [India], August 3 (ANI): Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday rubbished allegations of opposition in Rajya Sabha on the government’s handling of the economy during a debate on price rise with the Lok Sabha passing Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill.

In her reply to the debate, Sitharaman responded to the points raised by the opposition and said there is no collapse in the value of the Indian rupee and its performance against the US dollar is better than other major global currencies.

“The performance of the Indian rupee is much better than its own peers, which withstood the impact of the US Fed’s decision much better than any other peer currencies. Let us please understand the context and speak about the Indian rupee. There is no collapse,” she said.

“As I said, the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) is continuously monitoring it; monitoring and intervening only if there is volatility. The RBI’s interventions are not so much to fix the value of the Indian Rupee because it is free to find its own course,” she added.

Trinamool Congres staged a walkout during the reply by the minister.

Sitharaman said India’s macroeconomic fundamentals are strong.

“There was a time when we were quoted repeatedly – Bangladesh is doing well, you are not…The per capita GDP at PPP in 2013 for Bangladesh was USD 3,143 but it was USD 5,057 in the same period. In 2021, Bangladesh’s per capita GDP at PPP is USD 6,613 whereas ours is USD 7,334,” she said.

Referring to opposition criticism of the hike in GST on some items of daily use, she said GST Council has members from every state.

“They are not alone when they’re inside the GST Council, they sit with their officers as well. So, it’s not as if it’s possible for anyone to say something about some other state outside and get away with it,” she said.

She said states had earlier imposed VAT on many items of daily needs.

Responding to points made by opposition, Sitharman said she was also “a grehani ”

She said the government has taken measures to control inflation and no one was in denial of price rise.

The minister had replied to the debate on the price rise in Lok Sabha on Monday.

Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill that seeks to amend Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 to insert a new chapter for proper implementation of Convention on International trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

In his reply to the debate on the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021, Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said that development and protection of the environment were not opposed to each other.

He said appropriate development work can be carried out by keeping in mind environmental concerns.

He said environment conservation is the constitutional duty of the government. He also said that the government is committed to the conservation of wildlife.

The minister said that in the last eight years protected areas in the country have increased from 693 to 987, which includes fifty-two tiger reserves.

He said government works on the principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.

Referring to the points raised by some members from West Bengal, Yadav said protecting Sundarbans is the government’s constitutional responsibility.

The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (the Act) provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants and for matters connected therewith or ancillary or incidental with a view to ensuring the ecological and environmental security of the country.

India is a party to the Convention on International trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (the Convention) which requires that appropriate measures are taken to enforce the provisions of the Convention.

The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill 2021 proposes to amend the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

It proposes to amend the preamble to the Act so as to include the aspects of “conservation” and “management” of wildlife which are covered by the Act and rationalise and amend the Schedules to the Act for the purposes of clarity.

It also proposes to insert a new chapter for proper implementation of the provisions of the Convention in India, insert provisions to enable control of invasive alien species and insert a provision to allow the State Boards for Wild Life to constitute Standing Committees.

The bill proposes to make amendments for better management of protected areas.

It seeks to insert an explanation so as to provide that certain permitted activities such as, grazing or movement of livestock, bona fide use of drinking and household water by local communities shall be considered as non-prohibitive under section 29 of the Act.

It also seeks to insert provisions for better care of seized live animals and disposal of seized wildlife parts and products, to allow for transfer or transport of live elephants by a person having ownership certificates in accordance with conditions prescribed by the Central Government. (ANI)

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