1Positive Trends in January’s Retail Inflation for Farm and Rural Workers

  • Retail inflation for farm and rural workers in January eased marginally, dropping to 7.52% and 7.37%.
  • Food inflation declined to 9.67% and 9.43% from December 2023 figures, impacting overall inflation trends.
  • Regional indices saw a slight increase in January 2024, with AL and RL reaching 1,258 and 1,268 points.
  • Miscellaneous and fuel groups contributed significantly to the rise in the general index of AL and RL.
  • Ten states experienced a decrease in index, while one state saw no change, reflecting diverse trends.
  • Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh saw notable increases in CPI-AL and CPI-RL, driven by various factors.
  • The data underscores the ongoing challenges and fluctuations in the cost of living for rural and farm laborers.

Introduction :

In December 2023, the Consumer Price Index-Agricultural Labourers (CPI-AL) and Consumer Price Index-Rural Labourers (CPI-RL) were 7.71% and 7.46%, respectively. However, retail inflation for agricultural workers and rural labourers fell somewhat in January, to 7.52% and 7.37%, respectively. This decrease can be attributable primarily to the lower prices of some food goods during this time period.

Food Inflation Trends :

Food inflation, a key component of overall inflation, was reported at 9.67 percent and 9.43 percent last month, compared to 9.95 percent and 9.80 percent in December 2023. Furthermore, food inflation in the previous year was 6.61 percent and 6.47 percent, indicating a relative increase over time, according to a labour ministry data.

Regional Index Insights :

In January 2023, the CPI-AL and CPI-RL were recorded at 6.85 percent and 6.88 percent, respectively. In January 2024, the All-India CPI values for AL and RL increased by one point each, to 1,258 and 1,268 points, respectively. This is a small improvement above the December 2023 results of 1,257 and 1,267 points.

Factors influencing index changes :

Miscellaneous groups were principally responsible for the increase in the general index of AL and RL, contributing 1.57 and 1.55 points, respectively. Furthermore, the fuel and light groups contributed 1.16 and 1.10 points, respectively, owing to rising prices in a variety of categories such as medicines, doctor’s fees, barbershop charges, and home goods.

State-wise Trends :

Index changes showed a heterogeneous pattern among states. Ten states had a drop in the index, while one state saw no change in both CPI-AL and CPI-RL. In the instance of AL, 9 states witnessed a gain of 1 to 10 points, while 10 states saw a reduction of 1 to 5 points, leaving one state unaltered. Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh topped the index tables for AL and RL, respectively, while Himachal Pradesh constantly ranked at the bottom.

State-Specific Insights :

Himachal Pradesh had the highest CPI-AL increase of 9 points, owing mostly to rising commodity costs such as garlic, guava, and medications. Madhya Pradesh, on the other hand, saw the largest CPI-RL increase of 10 points due to price increases in vital products like as wheat atta, jowar, and vegetables.

Conclusion :

In summary, while retail inflation for agricultural and rural workers fell marginally in January compared to the previous month, geographical differences and varying trends across states remain significant. Price fluctuations in essential commodities continue to affect the cost of living for agricultural and rural labourers across the country, emphasising the importance of closely monitoring inflationary trends and implementing appropriate measures to mitigate its effects on vulnerable populations.


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