Inflation rose marginally to 6.84 per cent in February as food items such as rice, wheat, onions and fruits became costlier, indicating that a rate cut by Reserve Bank of India during its monetary policy review on March 19 would be a little harder. The central bank had projected March-end inflation at 6.8 per cent.
Inflation based on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) had stood at 6.62 per cent in January. In February, 2012, it was 7.56 per cent.
Ahead of the monetary policy review next week, RBI Governor D Subbarao said on Wednesday that inflation reading of above 6 per cent demands tightening of the policy stance.
Meanwhile, as per official data released on Thursday the rate of price rise in the manufactured items category witnessed a slight decline at 4.51 per cent last month.
Overall, inflation rate in food articles category, which has a 14.34 per cent share in the WPI basket, too witnessed a decline at 11.38 per cent. Inflation in the food articles category was at 11.88 per cent in January.
Onions were costlier by 154.33 per cent for the month of February, as against the inflation rate of 111.52 per cent in January.
Rice became costlier by 18.84 per cent in February, as against 17.31 per cent in the previous month. However, inflation in vegetables was at 12.11 per cent, from 28.45 per cent in January.
Inflation rate in wheat and cereals stood at 21.63 per cent and 19.19 per cent respectively in February.
Potato and pulses prices declined by 45.99 per cent and 14.96 per cent, from 79 per cent and 16.89 per cent respectively in January 2013.
While the inflation rate in egg, meat and fish category stood at 12.85 per cent, for milk it was up 4.57 per cent.
Fruits were costlier by 8.93 per cent.
With PTI inputs
For the fuel and power category, it was up by 10.47 per cent in February, compared to 7.06 per cent in January 2013.