Inflation at 6.89% in March
Inflation eased marginally in March compared to the previous month but prices of some food items remained stubborn, prompting the finance minister to say the rise in food inflation during the month was “disturbing”. Data released by the commerce and industry ministry showed that the annual rate of inflation, based on monthly wholesale price index (WPI), stood at 6.89% in March compared to the previous month’s 6.95% and 9.68% during the corresponding month of the previous year. Build up of inflation in the financial year so far was 6.89% compared to a build up of 9.68% in the corresponding period of the previous year, a government statement said. The government also revised upwards the January inflation number to 6.89% from the earlier 6.55%. Mukherjee said the government will take steps to address the supply side problems. Inflation has remained a policy headache for the government and the central bank for the past two years. But Monday’s data showed food inflation was gathering strength at an annual 9.94% in March. Price of pulses which had softened earlier rose an annual 10.05% in March compared to the previous month’s 7.91%. Vegetable prices rose an annual 30.57 in March, while milk prices shot up 15.29% year-on-year during the month. Egg, meat, prices remained stubborn rising 17.71% year-on-year.