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Onions, vegetables still costly
Published on 20 Jan. 2011 10:39 PM IST
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Even as India’s annual food inflation based on wholesale prices fell to 15.52 percent for the week ended Jan 8, high prices continued to pinch people at large with onions 100 percent dearer over the past year and vegetables 65 percent.
Yet, this was the second week of decline, from 16.91 percent the week ended Jan 1, after five weeks of rise that saw food inflation surge to a 52-week high of 18.32 percent, as per data on wholesale price index released by the commerce and industry ministry.
Much to the discomfort of industry and people, the annual inflation for primary articles continued to rule higher at 17.03 percent, while those for fuels at 11.53 percent and non-food articles at 23 percent remained a matter for grave concern.
In fact, data released does not consider the latest petrol price hike of `2.50 per litre. Fuel price rise has a cascading effect on inflation.
Reacting to the latest data and acknowledging that the latest increase in petrol prices could have a cascading effect on other items like food articles, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said: “Some of the vegetable prices are still high. I do not know what would be the impact of the recent increase because these figures are two weeks old.”
Under attack from all sections of the society, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday expressed concern over high prices and assured all steps to ease this burden, but he also expressed helplessness at certain aspects that had continued to fuel inflation.
The government unveiled a series of anti-inflation steps last week, including regulation of exports and imports, sale of onions through government agencies using state-run firms to source pulses and stringent action against hoarders.

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