Agriculture and Food Mangement

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  • Average Wholesale Price Index inflation declined to 3.4% in 2014-15 (April- December) as compared to an average of 6% during 2013-14. The WPI inflation even breached the psychological level of 0% in November 2014 and January 2015.
  • Consumer price inflation released by the Central Statistics Office (base 2012=100) reached 5.1% in January 2015. This is lower than the targets of 8% set for January 2015 and 6% for January 2016 given by the Reserve Bank of India in its report on the new monetary policy framework.
  • The High Level Committee headed by Shri Shanta Kumar has given useful recommendations on proposed changes in the food policy.
  • Headline inflation measured in terms of the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) (base year 2004- 05=100) which remained persistently high at 6-9% during 2011-13 moderated to a low of 3.4% in 2014-15(April-December) on the back of lower food and fuel prices.
  • WPI food inflation (weight: 24.3%), which remained high at 9.4% during 2013-14 moderated to 4.8% during April-December 2014 following sharp correction in vegetables prices since December 2013 (except March 2014) and moderation in prices of cereals and eggs, meat, and fish.
  • The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has started releasing state-wise and all-India rural, urban, and combined CPIs since January 2011. Retail inflation as measured by the CPI (combined) (base year 2010=100) remained stubbornly sticky around 9-10% for the last two years. Like WPI inflation, CPI inflation has also moderated significantly since the second quarter of 2014-15.
  • It declined to an all-time low of 5% in Q3 of 2014-15. The CSO has revised the base year from 2010 to 2012 and released the revised series on 12th February, 2015 along with inflation data for January, 2015. CPI inflation in terms of the revised series stood at 5.1 percent in January, 2015.
  • As per the World Bank Commodities Price Data (Pink Sheet), global commodity prices have shown a declining trend during 2014. The energy price index fell by 40% from June 2014 to December 2014. The food index and base metal index declined by 8% and 3% respectively during the same period.
  • As against the 40% decline in global energy prices, the Indian energy price index measured in terms of WPI fuel and power declined by only 10% during the period June – December 2014.
  • The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) food index shows that there has been a continuous decline in the food index since March 2014, mainly on account of abundant production as well as weakening demand.
  • The government took a series of measures to improve availability of food-grains and de-clog the distribution channel. Some of the major steps taken recently in this regard include:
  • Allocation of additional 5 million tonnes of rice to below and above poverty line (BPL and APL) families in the states, pending implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA), and allocation of 10 million tonnes of wheat under open market sales for domestic market in 2014-15;
  • Moderation in increases in the MSPs during the last and current season;
  • Advisory to the states to allow free movement of fruits and vegetables by delisting them from the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act;

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