India’s retail inflation eases to 5.91% in March 2020

India’s retail inflation eases to 5.91% in March 2020

India’s retail inflation slowed to four-month low of 5.91 per cent in March over the previous month due to easing prices of kitchen essentials like vegetables, eggs and meat, data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Monday.

The retail inflation based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 6.58 per cent in February 2020 and 2.86 per cent in the corresponding month of last year.

The inflation in the food basket was 8.76 per cent in March 2020, lower from 10.81 per cent in the previous month, as per the CPI data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO).

The Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI) said in a statement that the overall impact of the missing price data of estimates of General CPI at national and state level are within acceptable limits

“Keeping in view the preventive measures taken by NSO and announcement of nation-wide lockdown by the Government to check spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the field work for price collection of Consumer Price Index (CPI) was suspended with effect from March 19, 2020 and about 66% of price quotations were received. For assessing the price behaviour of remaining price quotations, NSO follows well established and internationally accepted methodology and practices,” it said.

What this means is that the quality of the inflation data could be compromised due to the lockdown and the restriction on movement that ensued. This could have potentially affected the collection of price data which is done from selected 1114 urban markets and selected 1181 villages by the Field Operations Division of NSO, MoSPI in a uniform weekly roster.

The inflation rate of vegetables was at 18.53% compared to March last year, while that of pulses and products was at 15.85%. Meat and fish also saw a 9.15% increase in prices over last year. Overall, prices of food and beverages rose by 7.82% in March 2020, compared to the same period last year.

The Reserve Bank of India mainly factors in the retail inflation while deciding its bi-monthly monetary policy.

The government has mandated the central bank to keep inflation at around 4%.

With PTI inputs

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    Neelam Jaiswal is a former editor of Ub News and has a lot of experience in business news. She is managing business news on My Office Hub. Reach her on

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