Pulses
Centre asks states to remove local taxes on essential commodities, making them cheaper. In Picture: Pulses kept on display for sale in a shop in Ahmedabad, India [Representational Image]Reuters

Despite the Modi government's efforts to check soaring pulse prices, the commodity prices went up by 42% last month, recording the sharpest increase in a decade.

A spike in pulse prices led both the retail and wholesale inflation rates to move higher in October. While retail inflation inched up to 5% last month, the wholesale price index rose to minus to 3.81% from minus 4.54% in the previous month.

"While nearly all food components are seeing a decline in inflation, pulses inflation has seen the sharpest spike in a decade," the Economic Times quoted Crisil Research, as saying.

"The CPI and WPI inflation for pulses was 42.2% and 53%, respectively in October," it said.

According to the research firm, price data for pulses for the last decade showed "a clear pattern of spike in pulses inflation every third year."

However, the food inflation now stands at 4.1% in the March-October period this fiscal year compared to 7.6% in the corresponding period last year. While most of the food items witnessed a decline in their prices, pulse prices have seen a steep rise.

"Such high inflation rate in pulses is undesirable for a country where pulses are second most important part of diet after cereals and an average Indian spends nearly 5% of his food expenditure on pulses," according to the Economic Times which cited Crisis research.

According to a recent study by Assocham, India's imports of pulses are estimated to reach 10 million tonnes in the current fiscal year, more than double the volume imported in 2014-15.

Nevertheless, inflation is projected to remain under control amid falling crude oil prices and a stable exchange rate.

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