The purchasing power of 4.5 to 5 crore people in the country is similar to that of Europe, said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi.
"I never said that 17 crore people are rich. Out of 17 crore people, 3 crore or 20% of the population are below the poverty line, that should be kept in mind", said the minister at a press briefing at the commerce ministry's conference room around 11am on Thursday (2 June).
Tipu Munshi said, excluding the 3 crore under the poverty limit, four and a half to five crore from among the rest 14 crore people of the country have purchasing power similar to that of Europe.
"However, we need to accommodate the 3 crore poor people, we are trying to do just that. We need to see if the common man can buy the right product at the right price," he said.
"Purchasing power also has two sides - those who produce and those who consume. If we take it to a stage where the producer is no longer interested this will have an adverse effect as well."
"Our goal is to look after the interests of low-income people. It is not of our concern what the rich do with their money. Fare pricing of goods must be ensured. But food prices is the concern of the Ministry of Food. We will help them every way we can."