Congress Leader Defends "Illiterate" Remark On PM Modi Amid Controversy

Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley

In addition, "government will take efforts to reduce non-essential imports", Jaitley said against the backdrop of India's rising trade deficit which stood at $17.4 billion in August. Masala bonds are rupee-denominated instruments through which Indian entities can raise funds by accessing overseas capital markets.

Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam has defended his controversial comment calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi "anpadh-gawaar" (uneducated and uncouth), saying the words he used were "not undignified".

Modi was briefed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel, and top officials of the finance ministry on the health of the economy.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold another round of economic review meeting with key policy makers on Saturday to discuss possible interventions by the government to address the macroeconomic challenges arising out of the depreciating rupee and steep rise in fuel prices.

However, "there are some issues on which immediate action is needed", the minister said while announcing steps to increase inflow of foreign funds and check CAD.

"External factors like policy decisions taken by the United States that is seeing the dollar strengthen, global crude prices and trade wars are impacting us despite India having strong macroeconomic fundamentals", Jaitley said.

Jaitley said earlier this month that there was no need for a panic or a knee-jerk reaction to the sharp rupee depreciation which he said was driven by global factors.

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A government official told PTI that the decision to screen the film in schools on September 18 was taken because it had a "social message", and would "inspire students".

In April, the Reserve Bank had imposed these restrictions on FPIs. "Non-essential imports will be decided by consulting the respective ministries in the next few days", Jaitley said after the meeting.

However, he did not disclose the list of non-essential items which would be subject to import restrictions.

To a question on whether NRI bonds would be issued to stem the rupee fall, Jaitley refused to comment. He said that government is confident to achieve the fiscal deficit target for the current fiscal year.

Economic Affairs Secretary S C Garg said the five measures would definitely have a meaningful impact. It is hard to give a specific number.

The rupee touched an all-time low of Rs 72.91 per USA dollar on Wednesday and closed at Rs 71.85 on Friday.

The Centre on Friday announced the first set of measures created to tamp down on the soaring current account deficit and ratchet up dollar inflows as it struggles to stem the dramatic 6 per cent slide in the rupee against the greenback since August. At the same time, such a situation will have impact on the retail inflation as prices of petrol and diesel are moving northwards rapidly.

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