'Knee-jerk reactions' to rising fuel prices may harm economy: BJP

With the opposition demanding that the government slash fuel prices, the BJP Wednesday said "knee-jerk reactions" will not help and may end up harming the economy by worsening the fiscal deficit and pushing up inflation.

Union minister Piyush Goyal put up a strong defence of the government amid the opposition's attack on it over spiralling fuel prices, saying it is working with a holistic view of the economy and has full confidence that people will support and respect the decisions taken in the national interest.

At a press conference, he also sought to explain the relentless fall in the value of rupee, saying it was over 68.86 during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, but it was "artificially" strengthened by infusion of billions of dollars in the market through loans which the Modi government had to pay.

The real fall in the Indian currency is not more than Rs 3 compared to its value in the UPA tenure, he claimed.

Goyal also accused the Congress of misleading people by spreading lies and took a dig at its president Rahul Gandhi, saying he has little understanding of the issues of potato and onion and is unlikely to know any better of the economy.

He referred to the 'Bharat Bandh' called by the opposition Monday against rising fuel prices and said the fact that it was a "flop show" indicated that people know what is good for the country and for them.

"At times if you take a knee-jerk reaction to sort out one issue, it may end up harming the economy more," Goyal told reporters.

Decision taken to solve a specific issue may have more harm than benefits, he said, noting that the overall inflation rate was 4.17 per cent last month while it was more than 10 per cent during the UPA government.

He also claimed that there was perhaps no better period of economy that it has been under the Modi government, which has been decisive, honest and worked relentlessly for the poor.

Hitting out at the UPA over the issue of non-performing assets (NPA), issuing oil bonds of over 1.30 lakh crore and other liabilities it left in 2014, Goyal said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government wanted to issue a white paper but refrained as it would have dented India's image in the world.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, has brought down "big people" to their knees by forcing them to pay their debts or face the heat of the law, something which never happened earlier.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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