Finance minister P Chidambaram on Monday ascribed the country's widening current account deficit to the increasing imports of gold, crude oil and coal.
Speaking to Congress party workers at a communication workshop here, he said: "We are importing coal, even though we have reserves for 200 years." Regarding gold imports, he joked: "I'll get lynched" for suggesting that Indians should spend less on gold.
"We end up spending $50 billion. But surely we can moderate import of gold." The finance minister was tasked with informing party spokespersons from across the country about the "state of the Indian economy and growth during the United Progressive Alliance regime (UPA)". The UPA had inherited a weak economy from the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) and for the Congreess-led UPA "inclusive growth" was the mantra, he added.
The UPA's social welfare initiatives needed to be better publicised and disseminated to the people. Wages were up due to the rural job programme and credit must be given to government for farm loan waiver and the food security scheme, said Chidambaram.