Concern over inflation overblown, says chief statistician


Kolkata : India’s headline inflation will dip further in coming months and will be at manageable level by the year end, the country’s chief statistician, T.C.A. Anant, said here Thursday.

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“I expect inflation to dampen and see it at a manageable level by the year-end,” Anant said, adding a lot of concern over inflation was overblown.

After staying in double digits for five months in a row, the wholesale inflation rate came down to single digit, at 9.97 percent in July. This has happened, primarily due to a decline in prices of food articles during the month.

Addressing members of the Bharat Chamber of Commerce, he

said: “A lot of concern over inflation is overblown. Inflation is difficult to analyse in isolation. It is important to take a global picture in inflation.”

In the 1970s, when the country experienced high inflation rates it was in the context of a significant global dynamics of inflation. “At the moment the global setting on prices are comfortable. In general, global commodity price inflation is modest,” said Anant, who is also secretary, ministry of statistics and programme implementation.

Even on major inputs like petroleum, the current setting is comfortable. The petroleum price position is not heated as it was in the period immediately preceding the recession, he said.

Talking about the domestic economy, he said: “Domestic growth picture is good. It is not so high that certain critical inputs may run short of supply, which may lead to an inflationary pressure. We have high but moderate levels of growth.”

He said the budget deficit picture was bad in the 1990s, but it has been brought under control.

“Inspite of a global recession, there is a fair chance that the deficit this year will be well within bounds. There is enough evidence now from the first quarter government expenditure estimates that the overall annual budget deficit will be well within target,” he said.

Anant said poor rainfall this year in the eastern region may not affect agricultural output due to presence of intermediaries.

“I am not saying that monsoon is not a worry particularly after Bengal and Bihar receiving inadequate rainfall,” he said.