Govt will keep inflation in check, but won't empty exchequer: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said his government will do everything to keep inflation under control, but will stay away from populism, which the past regimes practiced to get recognition while "emptying the exchequer".

Giving the 'reform, perform and transform' slogan in his third Independence Day address, Modi said the government has to be sensitive, responsible, accountable, transparent and efficient to complete the journey from 'Swarajya' (self- governance) to 'Suraj' (good governance).

"It has been a tradition in this country for governments to make populist announcements and emptying the exchequer to get recognition. I have tried to stay away from resorting to this kind of populism," he said.

Modi said his government has not allowed the rate of price rise to cross 6 per cent as opposed to the double-digit inflation during previous government.

"We have made a lot of efforts to contain price rise," he said. "I will do all it takes to ensure that the poor man's food plate does not become expensive."

Spike in prices of pulses was a matter of concern, he said, adding that the area under pulses cultivation has increased 1.5 times. The rise in vegetable prices, he said, was on account of deficient rains earlier.

He elaborated on the integrated approach that the government has taken towards the agriculture sector, which includes focus on soil health cards, irrigation, solar pumps, seeds, fertilisers, and crop insurance.

The prime minister said the price of energy-efficient LED bulbs has been brought down to Rs50 from Rs350 earlier and the government is working to complete stalled or long pending projects as well as shortening the time required for project approvals in important sectors.

Modi said the just passed legislation on Goods and Services Tax (GST), which will replace a raft of different central and state levies, will strengthen growth efforts and make economy more predictable.

He said he wished to focus not on the work done by the government, but on its work-culture.