Montek Singh Ahluwalia predicts decline in food inflation by March end

Friday, February 11, 2011

NEW DELHI - Giving a breather to consumers stung by the spiralling prices of essential commodities, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, predicted a sharp decline in food inflation by the end of March.

India is currently beset by rising food and fuel prices, and the Central Government has drawn flak for failing to check inflation, which has hit hundreds of millions of people.

Though the Central Government has already taken up a series of measures, from banning onion exports to putting a pause on sugar exports, food inflation remains stubbornly high despite policymakers’ forecasts of a slowdown.

However, citing recent reports, Ahluwalia asserted inflation would come down to 7 percent by the end of March.

“The thing is that food price inflation has come down but it is still high. I agree with that. Incidentally, the most recent market price information suggests further fall. So, I remain broadly of the view that around March, I mean the targets that have been mentioned by different people, are that total inflation will come down to around 7 percent or so during the month of March,” said Ahluwalia.

Dismissing the fears of the consumers, Ahluwalia said prices of onions, vegetables and milk would register a fall by the end of the fiscal year.

“Earlier, we used to worry about cereal prices, basic staple. That is not a problem at the moment. Onion prices have already crashed very significantly, and I am hopeful that other prices will also begin to come down,” said Ahluwalia.

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI), rose to annual 8.43 percent in December, after a rise of 7.48 percent in November. India’s fuel inflation rose to 11.19 percent in December from 10.3 percent in November. (ANI)

Filed under: Business

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