Centre may reveal action plan next week to tame red-hot inflation
Consumer inflation—gauged by the Consumer Price Index (CPI)—has stayed beyond the upper end of a medium-term target range for a second straight month.
The central government is working closely with a host of agencies to bring inflation under control and will announce an action plan next week to tame soaring consumer prices in the country, sources told Zee Business. Consumer inflation—or the rate of increase in the prices consumers bear for a basket of goods including a host of food products, petroleum, and electricity—has stayed beyond the upper end of a medium-term target range for a second straight month.
The RBI, along with the government's departments of food and consumer affairs, has prepared a report on inflation, and several ministries have also shared details on the matter with the finance ministry, according to the sources. The data will likely be discussed in the RBI's upcoming policy review.
The Centre's action plan will have food security as the top priority and is likely to encourage states to work together on the aspect of affordability, and will also seek to address the issue of hoarding as new stocks enter the market, the sources said. The government will devise its action plan, to counter sticky inflation, taking into account the inputs based on inputs provided by the RBI, they added.
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Measured by the Consumer Price Index, retail inflation in the country cooled down to 6.83 per cent in August from a 15-month high the previous month as food prices eased, supporting bets that the RBI will keep 'pause' pressed on benchmark interest rates for now. Food inflation, which accounts for nearly half of the overall CPI basket, eased to 9.94 per cent in August from 11.51 per cent in July. Several economists, however, remain watchful of inflationary risks associated with rates of crude oil and select food items.
The RBI, which tracks retail inflation closely while formulating its monetary policy, targets to contain inflation within 4-6 per cent over the medium term. It has projected consumer inflation to average 5.4 per cent for the financial year ending March 2024.
Meanwhile, the central bank's Monetary Policy Committee is scheduled to start a three-day meeting on Wednesday. The outcome of the bi-monthly deliberations will be announced on Friday.
The Department of Food and Public Distribution, under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, held talks with officials of the state and Union Territories on September 29 to ensure the enforcement of stock limits and strict action against hoarding.
In the meeting, chaired by Department of Food and Public Distribution Additional Secretary Richa Sharma, the state and UT authorities were asked to monitor and verify the discloses made by wholesalers, stockists, big chains and retailers with central data. It was also decided that special central teams will conduct drills and surprise inspections on the basis of inputs from states and Union Territories.