Will take time for onion, potato prices to decline: Pranab

Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi, Sept 15: Onion prices have gone up 43 per cent in a year and potato is costing over 20 per cent more, but the government has said it will take "some time" before prices of the kitchen staples decline.

Onions were dearer by 43 per cent on an annual basis, while potato prices were up 21 per cent, as per food inflation data for the week ended September 3 released today.

"Inflation in certain commodities like onion and potato are still a concern... The steps that we have taken will have some moderating influence but it is taking time and it will continue to... for some time," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters here.

His comments came after food inflation fell to 9.47 per cent for the week ended September 3, even as prices of all items, barring pulses and wheat, went up on an annual basis.

Food inflation, as measured on the basis of the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), was 9.55 per cent in the previous week.

Onion prices are between Rs 10.75 and Rs 12.80 per kilo in wholesale markets in the capital, while their retail prices are currently at Rs 20-25 a kg.

Wholesale potato prices in Delhi NCR are Rs 8.50-15 per kilo, while retail price of the item is Rs 15-20 per kg.

"There has been some softening in the wholesale prices but... we should not read too much between the weekly fluctuation," Mukherjee said.

He said global price pressure is also to blame for high domestic inflation. Headline inflation jumped to 13-month high of 9.78 per cent in August.

"The international situation is still volatile, though the cues from both US and Europe are that there will be softening trend of the prices," Mukherjee said.


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