Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has politely declined to consider Opposition demands for rolling back the proposed hikes in fuel prices, citing the state of government's finances warranted the hike.
Replying to a question from former finance minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, he said the government's financial condition left him no option but to raise fuel prices. The Opposition then staged a walkout ahead of the vote on account being passed by the House.
Agreeing that the problem of inflation would persist as it could not be separated from the economic process he said, "I cannot take a myopic view of inflation."
He pointed out however that despite recessionary trends, domestic savings had not come down below 30 per cent.
Explaining the economic philosophy behind this year's budget, he said the thrust was on high growth even while making a consistent attempt to reduce the fiscal deficit. Addressing the charge that he had been "conservative", the minister said he preferred caution over adventure and the first task was to arrest failing growth that was slipping "every month".
"I did not opt for any short-term measure," he said. He said that high growth alone could generate the enough funds for the government to undertake ambitious social sector projects like NREGA and food security. He said though there had been a turnaround more needed to done as current growth was not a figment of imagination.