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Food prices still on the rise: Manmohan
Published on 11 Feb. 2010 11:58 PM IST
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Even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressed last week that the worst was over on rising prices of essential items, India’s annual food inflation based on wholesale prices rose to 17.94 percent for the week ended Jan 30. The annual rise in the index for food articles was 17.56 percent for the week before, as per official data released by the commerce and industry ministry Thursday. Prices of essential items continued to rise in the country, with vegetables dearer by 20.93 percent, potatoes by 40.57 percent, pulses by 41.24 percent and fruits by 8.67 percent during the 52-week period. The limited data on wholesale price index further showed a sharp rise in the index for primary articles by 15.75 percent, while that for fuels was up 10.44 percent. India’s overall inflation rate, based on the wholesale prices index, had risen sharply to 7.31 percent in December from 4.78 percent the previous month mainly on account of higher food prices. The complete statistics for January are expected Friday. While addressing a conference of chief ministers on how to curb prices here last week, the prime minister said although the war on prices had only met with partial success, the worst was over on curbing India’s annual food inflation. In fact, fearing inflationary expectations in the economy, the central bank had changed its monetary policy stand late last month from an accommodative regime to a strict vigil on monetary expansion in a bid to bring down prices. The price rise of some essential food items over the 52-week period: - Potatoes: 40.57 % - Pulses: 41.24 % - Cereals: 12.15% - Rice: 9.90 % - Milk: 14.16% - Wheat: 15.47 % - Vegetables: 20.93 % - Fruits: 8.67 % “Though the inflationary pressures in the domestic economy stem predominantly from the supply side, the consolidating recovery increases the risks of these pressures spilling over into a wider inflationary process,” RBI Governor D. Subbarao said.

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