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India Is Better Positioned to Weather Food Inflation, Says Official

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  • There is ample availability of locally produced food grain, India's chief economic advisor to India, V. Anantha Nageswaran, told CNBC.
  • He said a subsidy under which free food grain is being supplied to nearly 800 million Indians has been extended until September. 
  • He also said the Indian economy has shown "strong underlying momentum" despite a slowdown in the fiscal fourth quarter.

India is relatively better positioned to weather the global rise in food prices, the country's chief economic advisor V. Anantha Nageswaran told CNBC'S "Street Signs Asia" on Wednesday.

"It is a tricky situation … for many countries, but India is relatively better placed because of the fact that there is ample availability of food grain, locally produced," he said, adding the government has also provided subsidies for food and cooking gas to ease the the burden.

Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine has disrupted the global production and supply of food and energy because both nations are major producers of these commodities. The war has led to a surge in prices across the world.

Nageswaran said the government has taken "multiple actions" to reduce the burden on the common man.

"Not only were excise duties on petrol and diesel cut in May, we were following up on the rate cuts already made," he said, adding that export duties on iron and steel products were raised and import duties on crude palm oil reduced.

He said a subsidy under which free food grain is being supplied to nearly 800 million Indians has been extended until September. 

India's chief economic advisor also said the economy remains strong despite a weak final quarter in the previous fiscal year.

"The momentum is quite reasonably strong in the new financial year that began in April. We saw strong manufacturing and services numbers," he said, adding that the government posted a record collection of goods and services tax revenue in April.

He said slower fiscal fourth quarter growth was mainly due to the pandemic shutdowns in parts of the country in January and February.

"The supply chain disruptions held back manufacturing and global commodity prices went up in March," he said.

Still, he said the trend since then is encouraging. 

"The underlying momentum of the economy remains good. Air travel is picking up on [rising] business travel...So by and large, [even] with so many global headwinds, the economy remains reasonably strong and poised to deliver moderate to high growth," Nageswaran said. 

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