No plans to raise funds via issuance of COVID bonds: Pankaj Chaudhary

No plans to raise funds via issuance of COVID bonds: Pankaj Chaudhary

New Delhi: Union Minister Pankaj Chaudhary on Monday informed Parliament that the government has no plans to raise funds by issuing COVID bonds. “The government does not plan to raise fiscal resources through borrowings by issuing COVID bonds,” the Minister of State for Finance said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

Replying to another question, Chaudhary said, the deft and prudent external debt management policy of the government has helped in containing rise in external debt and maintaining a comfortable debt position.

The policy focuses on monitoring long and short-term debt, raising sovereign loans on concessional terms with longer maturities, regulating external commercial borrowings and rationalizing interest rates on Non-Resident Indian deposits, he said.

In a reply to another question, Chaudhary said, India’s per capita Gross Domestic Product in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms in 2021 is estimated at USD 7,332.9 as compared to USD 5,811.6 for Bangladesh, citing International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook (WEO) report, April 2021.

Quoting the report he said, India’s per capita GDP in PPP terms in 2016 was USD 5,839.9, 41.8 per cent higher than that of Bangladesh (USD 4,118.9).

As per the report, he said, the Indian economy is estimated to grow at 12.5 per cent in 2021, highest among major economies.

“The government has announced relief measures for several sectors under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Packages announced on May 13, 2020 to May 17, 2020, October 12, 2020 and November 12, 2020 involving a total amount of Rs 29,87,641 crore (including amount provided for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana from July to November, and measures announced by RBI),” he said in a separate reply.

Besides, he said, a Rs 6.28 lakh crore COVID stimulus package was also announced on June 28, 2021.

Replying to another question, he said, the prices of petrol and diesel are market-determined and any decision in this perspective is made by the PSU Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), while the government only modulates.

“The prices of petroleum products in the country are linked to the price of respective products in the international market. Prices of petrol and diesel have been made market-determined with effect from 26.06.2010 and 19.10.2014, respectively. Since then PSU OMCs take appropriate decision on pricing of petrol and diesel,” he said.

He further said the all-time high subsidy released has improved the food safety to the masses, he said.

During 2020-21, the Department of Food & Public Distribution had released an all- time high subsidy of Rs 4,62,789 crore to FCI and Rs 78,337.77 crore to states through decentralised procurement, he said.

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