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Aug 29, 2013 at 07:27pm IST

Commerce Minister Anand Sharma blames judiciary for India's economic crisis

New Delhi: Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on Thursday tried to shift the blame for the economic crisis onto the Indian judiciary saying that certain judgements made by the latter has often contributed to the loss to the exchequer. In an exclusive interview to IBN18 Editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Anand Sharma also clarified his remarks on the need for monetising gold reserves of the country to contain the current account deficit.

On the current economic crisis plaguing the country, Sharma said that Centre was not solely responsible for the situation. He said that a number of judgements passed by the Supreme Court against the government have also contributed to the situation and pointed out that Supreme Court judgement on Vodafone tax deal, coal mining, iron ore mining have led to loss in revenue for the government.

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Blaming the judiciary for imposing a ban on mining, Sharma said: "What about the coal? Why coal mining isn't taking place? Every decision becomes a scandal. Why iron ore mining isn't taking place?" Sharma added that the judiciary's interference in government-related matters have also aggravated the situation.

He also blamed the media and the Opposition for the low investor confidence in the Indian economy. "Did the government say there is a presumptive loss of Rs 1,76,000 crore? Did the government cancel the licences? The investment climate has been vitiated. If the government is responsible, others are equally responsible."

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The minister also clarified his remarks on the need for monetising the gold reserves of the country saying that he had hinted for a fresh gold bond scheme. "First of all, I never said government could. There have been suggestions made by many leading economists that to reduce the dependence on imports of gold, which is upto 62 billion. We have raised the duty on gold from 2 per cent to 4 per cent and now it's 10 per cent. The same has been done for silver. This country has enormous reserves."

Sharma also added that the decision needs to be taken by the Reserve Bank of India and not the government. "One thing we should be clear is the domain of the RBI. I have said for the RBI and the department of banking, to look at the possibility of how to monetise gold, monetise does not mean auction. For example, the RBI, again it is their domain. I am talking about gold which is with the citizens. RBI in the past has come up with many schemes - there have been 3 gold schemes," he said.