Falling rupee a serious concern: Commerce minister

May 23rd, 2012 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Shimla, May 23 (IANS) The rupee’s continued slide against the dollar is “a serious concern”, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said Wednesday.

“Increased dollar demand, especially by oil companies, is making the currency go up and down. Our oil bill is also on the higher side,” Sharma told reporters here adding: “Indian exports are not going up. Our endeavour should be to boost exports.”

The rupee hit a record low of 56 against the dollar Wednesday.

“I have discussed the issue with the prime minister (Manmohan Singh) and the finance minister (Pranab Mukherjee),” he said.

“There is global uncertainty and India is no exception,” Sharma said. “The government is taking a series of steps. It (the rupee volatility) is more market related… Market forces are uncertain.”

Sharma was here to review the central government schemes being run in Himachal Pradesh.

On a query over inflation, he said it was “a global phenomenon”.

“Unfortunately, India is not self-sufficient in food grain production and has to import lots of items, including pulses. But the impact of (global) petroleum prices is mainly responsible for inflation. The RBI (Reserve Bank of India) has taken a lot of initiatives but there is a lot of pressure on the rupee,” he said.

He said India was annually importing 9 million tonnes of edible oil, up to 5 million tonne of pulses and its oil (petroleum) bill was $154 billion.

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