'Recent spike in retail inflation mainly on costlier food, govt taking steps to moderate prices'

New Delhi, Dec 9 () The recent spike in retail inflation is mainly due to high food prices and the government is taking steps to moderate the volatility in prices, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur said in Parliament on Monday.

"The recent spike in CPI-C (consumer price index-combined) inflation is mainly on account of increase in food price inflation. Government has taken various measures from time to time to stabilise prices of essential food items which include appropriately utilising trade and fiscal policy instruments like import duty and export management," he said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

Retail inflation spiked to 4.62 per cent in October mainly on account of higher food prices.

Mechanisms such as minimum export price, export restrictions are taken to regulate domestic availability and moderate prices. Imposition of stock limits and advising states for effective action against hoarders and black marketers are the other measures, he said. Advertisement

"Government is implementing Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) to help moderate the volatility in prices of agri-horticultural commodities like pulses, onion, and potato," he said.

Further, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is implementing scheme 'Operation Greens' for integrated development of Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) value chain which has the objective of price stabilization for producers and consumers through production planning in the TOP clusters and introduction of dual use varieties.

Review meetings on price and availability situation of essential commodities are held at the highest level, including at the level of ministers, committee of secretaries, Inter Ministerial Committee, PSF Management Committee and other Departmental level review meetings for taking appropriate price intervention decisions including possible market-intervention, he said.

Onion prices have soared to Rs 150-180 per kg in several markets in India due to crop damage after incessant rains in key growing areas. Earlier, tomato prices had spiked to Rs 80 a kg.

Retail inflation has risen consistently from 1.97 per cent in January to 4.62 per cent in October, according to official data. KPM MR MR

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