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India’s food inflation still hovers around 18 percent

New Delhi, Feb 18 (Calcutta Tube) Despite assurances from the government that food prices would soon start coming down, India’s annual food inflation based on wholesale prices rose to 17.97 percent for the week ended Feb 6.

The annual rise in the index for food articles was 17.94 percent for the week before, as per official data released by the commerce and industry ministry Thursday.

Prices of essential items continued to move up, with vegetables dearer by 19.56 percent, potatoes by 38.02 percent, pulses by 38.04 percent and fruits by 10.39 percent over the 52-week period.

The limited data on wholesale price index further showed a sharp rise in the index for primary articles by 16.23 percent, while that for fuels was up 9.89 percent.

India’s annual rate of inflation, based on the wholesale prices index, had risen to 8.56 percent in January from 7.31 percent in the previous month, primarily due to galloping food prices.

The Reserve Bank of India also raised its projected annual inflation rate at the end of this fiscal to 8.5 percent from 6.5 percent.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said Wednesday that the measures taken by the government to tame inflation will take some time to have their effect and that the country would see a moderate rate of inflation in the next two months.

The pressure of the continuing upward movement of food prices has also forced the government to postpone a decision on a proposed fuel price hike.

The price rise of some essential food items over the 52-week period:

– Pulses: 38.04 percent

– Potatoes: 38.02 percent

– Vegetables: 19.56 percent

– Wheat: 15.78 percent

– Onions: 1.48 percent

– Milk: 14.16 percent

– Fruits: 10.39 percent

– Rice: 9.64 percent

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