Retail inflation for industrial workers eased marginally to 5.33 per cent in July compared to 5.98 per cent in the same month last year, mainly due to lower prices of certain food items. "Year-on-year inflation based on all-items stood at 5.33 per cent for July 2020 as compared to 5.06 per cent for the previous month (June 2020) and 5.98 per cent during the corresponding month (July 2019) of the previous year," a labour ministry statement said.
The food inflation stood at 6.38 per cent in July, compared to 5.49 per cent in the previous month and 4.78 per cent during the same period a year ago, it added. The All-India CPI-IW (consumer price index for industrial workers) for July 2020 increased by 4 points to 336. On one-month percentage change, it increased by 1.20 per cent between June and July 2020 compared to 0.95 per cent rise in the same period the previous year.
The data showed that the maximum upward movement in the current index came from housing group, contributing (+) 2.28 percentage points to the total change. The food index further accentuated the overall index by (+) 1.77 percentage points. At item level, wheat atta, mustard oil, milk (Buffalo), green chillies, brinjal, gourd, palak, parval, potato, tomato, snack saltish, cooking gas, firewood, bus fare, petrol, tailoring charges, etc are responsible for the increase in index.
However, this rise was checked by rice, fish fresh, goat meat, poultry (chicken), lemon, etc, putting downward pressure on the index. At centre level, Jamshedpur recorded the maximum increase of 36 points followed by Haldia (23 points), Tiruchirapally (13 points), Kodarma and Faridabad (12 points each), Srinagar (11 points), Lucknow and Doom-Dooma Tinsukia (10 points each).
Among others, 8 points increase was observed in 2 centres, followed by 7 points in 5 centres, 6 points in 8 centres, 5 points in 7 centres, 4 points in 10 centres, 3 points in 9 centres, 2 points in 9 centres and 1 point in another 9 centres. On the contrary, Madurai recorded the maximum decrease of 5 points. Among others, 3 points decrease was observed in 1 centre, 2 points in another 1 centre and 1 point in 2 centres. Rest of 6 centres' indices remained stationary.
The indices of 31 centres are above All-India Index and 45 centres' indicators are below the national average. The indices of Chhindwara and Jalandhar centres remained at par with All-India Index. Commenting on the data, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said, "The rise in annual inflation is mainly due to hike in house rent and items like Potato, Tomato, Medicine, Bus Fare, Petrol, etc".
The CPI-IW is a benchmark for working out dearness allowance for the government employees and pensioners. The minister said that in the increase in CPI-IW (cost of living) will have a positive effect on wages/salaries of industrial workers engaged in organised sector besides government employees and pensioners.
Director-General Labour Bureau D S Negi said, "Despite various constraints faced by field staff in the collection of price data in view of COVID-19, Labour Bureau has brought out the monthly indices as per the schedule time frame without interruption". He further said the rise in the index is mainly due to housing and food group items.
Housing index is revised on a six-monthly basis in January and July every year. In the food segment, potato and tomato are the determining factors for the rise. Besides, fuel items like cooking gas and petrol also experienced a hike in prices, he added. The Labour Bureau, an attached office of the Ministry of Labour & Employment, has been compiling CPI-IW every month on the basis of the retail prices of selected items collected from 289 markets spread over 78 industrially important centres in the country.