According to the government data, the food inflation stood at 10.12 per cent as compared to 11.05 per cent previously. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
Amid growing concern over the economic slowdown, there is more bad news for the common man. The Narendra Modi government released the inflation data on Friday that showed no respite for the common people. The Wholesale Price Index Inflation rose to 3.1 per cent in January as compared with 2.59 per cent (provisional) for the previous month and 2.76 per cent during the corresponding month of the previous year. According to the government data, the food inflation stood at 10.12 per cent as compared to 11.05 per cent previously.
Manufactured products inflation stood at 0.34 per cent. Fuel and power inflation rose to 3.42 per cent. However, there was some brief relief in terms of onion prices. The onion inflation eased from staggering 455.83 per cent to 293.37 per cent. Vegetables inflation also eased from 69.69 per cent to 52.72 per cent.
The wholesale inflation data comes two days after the government released the retail numbers. According to the figures released on February 12, retail inflation inched up to 7.59 per cent in January on costlier food items. The Consumer Price Index (CPI)-based retail inflation was 7.35 per cent in December 2019 and 1.97 per cent in January last year.
The food inflation last month was 13.63 per cent, compared with (-)2.24 per cent in January 2019. However, it is down from 14.19 per cent in December. The Reserve Bank of India had kept the key policy rate unchanged earlier this month mainly due to high inflation. This is the highest inflation rate since May 2014, pushed higher by expensive food items.
The growing inflation is dampening the mood of the market with little help from the government. The Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also failed to cheer the market. In fact, the International Monetary Fund has also advised for ‘urgent measures’ to accelerate the growth.
"While the budget touches on ongoing sectoral efforts, there remains an urgent need for more ambitious structural and financial sector reform measures and a medium-term fiscal consolidation strategy, anchored in tangible revenue and expenditure measures, especially given rising debt levels," International Monetary Fund (IMF) spokesperson Gerry Rice said on budget impact.
"The environment is weaker than what we had forecast earlier, that a more accommodative fiscal stance, this year, is appropriate, so that more accommodative fiscal stance in the budget, we think, is appropriate,” he said. "But, over the medium term, to be looking at a fiscal consolidation strategy,” Rice said. The IMF in January lowered India's economic growth estimate for the current fiscal to 4.8 per cent.