The data on retail and wholesale prices collected by the consumer affairs ministry from across the country show that the retail price of wheat has also increased by 14% – from Rs 27 a kg a year back to Rs 31 on Thursday. Similarly, the average retail price of rice has gone up to Rs 38.2 a kg, an increase of nearly 8% in the past one year.
The increase in cereal prices also found a mention in RBI governor Shaktikanta Das‘s speech on Friday when the central bank increased the repo rate. He said, “There are also upside risks to food prices. Cereal price pressure is spreading from wheat to rice due to the likely lower kharif paddy production. The lower sowing for kharif pulses could also cause some pressures. The delayed withdrawal of monsoon and intense rain spells in various regions have already started to impact vegetable prices, especially tomatoes. These risks to food inflation could have an adverse impact on inflation expectations.”
Keeping in mind the inflationary pressure, the government on Wednesday approved the extension of PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojna (PMGKAY) till December, which entitles nearly 80 crore identified beneficiaries to get monthly 5 kg of foodgrain free of cost.
Meanwhile, the food ministry on Friday said the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has sufficient stock of foodgrains to meet the requirement of National Food Security Act (NFSA), other schemes and additional requirements of PMGKAY. It said even after meeting the requirement of stock under NFSA, other welfare schemes and PMGKAY phase VII, the FCI will have stocks comfortably more than the buffer norms as on April 1, 2023.