Kochi (Kerala) [India], February 7 (ANI): Asserting that Union Budget 2021-22 will pave the way for comprehensive growth in the economy, Union Power Minister RK Singh on Sunday said that country's energy consumption reached an all-time high of 1.89 million gigawatt in January and this is an indication that India's economy is on a path of growth.
"In October 2020, the country's energy consumption increased by 13 per cent (1.86 lakh GW) over the previous year. In January this year, it reached an all-time high of 1.89 million GW. This is an indication that our economy is on a growth path," Singh said during a press conference here, as part of the government's effort to reach out to the masses regarding the Union Budget.
"Another important fact is that the Ministry of Power has created 28 million new beneficiaries in the last 20 months through schemes like Saubhagya. For the first time since independence, all the villages and houses in the country have been brought under the power grid. These 28 million consumers are engaged in measures to strengthen the economy in various ways," he added.
Singh said that India was facing energy deficit when the NDA government came to power adding that the country is currently exporting energy to various countries.
"Several steps have been taken to strengthen the country's energy supply chain. Steps will be taken to set up more substations and upgrade existing ones. India's growth rate in the renewable energy sector was one of the highest in the world. India has become one of the most attractive destinations for investors. Over the past five years, the country has received USD 64 billion as an investment in the power sector," he added.
The Union Minister also said that the new budget has given great importance to Kerala in the areas of infrastructure development such as development of National Highways and Kochi Port, and extension of Kochi Metro.
When asked about the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel's demand regarding the withdrawal of cess on petrol and diesel, Singh said, "They don't know economics. After the economy has contracted, when there is a recession which can translate into deflation. To kickstart the economy, you have to spend. In times of deflation or recession, inflation is no worry. What is required is you get money into circulation through productive investments. Inflation in fact is far away right now. Just do read some economics."
While responding to a question on farm laws, the Minister stated that this is not a "kisan andolan" but an agitation of "middlemen".
"We have been asking the farmers and of course the opposition leaders who think that they can get the farmers votes by this, tell us specifically which provision is anti farmers. They are not able to tell us any provision which is actually anti-Kisan," he said.
"This is not a Kisan Andolan. This is an Andolan by middlemen. Middlemen of one and a half state. One state Punjab and half state is western Uttar Pradesh. So it is agitation by the middlemen. Middlemen make a huge amount of money. No other farmers in the country are agitating. This got exposed when Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh came out with an appeal that the role of middlemen should stay. Can you imagine somebody saying the role of middlemen should stay? He came out with a public appeal. Shame on him," he added.
Farmers have been protesting at different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)