NEW DELHI– India has been witnessing inflation as prices of fuels, vegetables, fruits, edible oils and cereals have all skyrocketed.

Petrol and diesel prices have witnessed a continuous rise for over two weeks since March 22, as the price of a 19-kg commercial LPG cylinder was recently hiked by 250 Indian rupees (around $3.2) to 2,253 Indian Rupees ($29.6). 

On March 22, the price of domestic LPG gas cylinders increased by 50 Indian rupees (65 U.S. cents). The steep rise in diesel and petrol prices has led to an increase in the prices of vegetables and other food articles, as transportation prices have gone up significantly.

Between March 22 and April 5, fuel prices were raised by 9.20 Indian Rupees (12 U.S. cents) per liter across the four metro cities in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

On Tuesday, petrol price in Delhi stood at 104.61 Indian rupees ($1.37) per liter while diesel was available at 95.87 Indian rupees ($1.26) per liter.

In Mumbai, petrol was retailed at rupees 119.67 ($1.57), while diesel cost rupees 103.92 ($1.36) per liter. 

However, Minister of Petroleum Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday said in the parliament that fuel prices hiked in India are one-tenth of prices hiked in other countries including the United States, Canada, Germany and Britain. 

The annual inflation rate in the country accelerated for the fifth straight month to 6.07 percent in February, the highest since June 2021, and above the market forecasts of 5.93 percent. Inflation figures for March 2022 will be announced later this month.

Food inflation increased to 5.85 percent, the highest reading since November 2020, with the cost of oils and fats (16.44 percent), meat and fish (7.45 percent), and vegetables (6.13 percent) recording the biggest rises.

Reacting to the inflationary trend, chief economist at credit rating agency ICRA Aditi Nayar was quoted as saying, “Led by food and beverages, clothing and footwear, and housing, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation inched up to an eight-month high 6.1 percent in February 2022, similar to our forecast (6.2 percent), and discomfortingly above the upper threshold of the MPC’s 2-6 percent medium term target range.” 

In a bid to compensate for the price rise, the federal government last week approved an additional 3 percent Dearness Allowance (DA) to central government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to the pensioners with effect from Jan. 1.

Following the central government’s announcement, most state governments too announced similar hikes in the DA for their employees, which is given to government employees to meet the rise in inflation. – Xinhua