CPI up 7.65 per cent in January
While `food and beverages` reported a moderate rate of price rise of 4.11 per cent year-on-year in January, the inflation numbers for fuel and light, and clothing, bedding and footwear segments were in double-digits. Overall retail inflation in rural and urban areas stood at 7.38 per cent and 8.25 per cent in January, respectively.
"There was a long pending demand of ministries and various users for a comprehensive consumer inflation rate. To meet this demand, annual inflation rates based on this broad based CPI series for January 2012 are released today," Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation Srikant Jena said.
The all India CPI will be in addition to the three retail price indices — for agricultural labourers, rural labourers and industrial workers — prepared by the Ministry of Labour.
The new nationwide CPI is being prepared by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) and is eventually expected to replace the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) as the benchmark inflation. Vegetables were cheaper by over 24 per cent on a nationwide basis in January over the same month last year. However, other food and beverages reported a rise in prices.
In rural and urban areas, inflation in the category stood at 4.18 per cent and 3.98 per cent, respectively. Milk and milk products became 16.53 per cent more expensive on an annual basis, while price of oils and fats went up by 13.47 per cent in January. Condiments and spices became dearer by 11.83 per cent and fruits by 10.62 per cent in the month.
Egg, meat and fish were dearer by 10.45 per cent in January, while cereals and pulses reported a price rise of 2.69 per cent and 5.66 per cent, respectively. Sugar was 1.84 per cent expensive in January as compared to the same month of last year. Inflation in non-alcoholic beverages stood at 11.52 per cent and prepared meals were dearer by 10.39 per cent.
Inflation in fuel and light segment stood at 13.13 per cent in January for the whole country. In rural areas, fuel and light inflation stood at 13.70 per cent and in urban areas at 12.43 per cent. On an all India basis, clothing, bedding and footwear reported an inflation of 14.25 per cent in January. The category reported a price rise of 13.78 per cent and 15.39 per cent in rural and urban areas respectively.
However, the government did not release the retail inflation data for two other segments-housing and miscellaneous items. The MOSPI had launched the nationwide CPI from January 2011, without quoting the inflation rate so that the data gets stabilised. It is for the first time that the government has come out with inflation based on retail prices in rural, urban and all India basis.
The government had earlier said that CPI will "reflect the actual movement of prices at the micro-level and help policymakers like the RBI in better framing of decisions." The data for the index is collected from 310 cities and towns and over 1,180 rural centre. Experts believe that the CPI will become a benchmark the Reserve Bank`s monetary policy decisions, besides being used by the government but it will take some time for its to replace the WPI. Inflation based on WPI was 6.55 per cent in January this year.