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Govt, RBI in action mode to tame inflation

The Union Finance Ministry on Thursday said measures taken by the RBI and government will squeeze the duration of high inflation fuelled by global factors.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das
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Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das

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New Delhi: The Union Finance Ministry on Thursday said measures taken by the RBI and government will squeeze the duration of high inflation fuelled by global factors.

Retail inflation has been trending above Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) upper tolerance level of 6 per cent for the past three months. "While inflation is expected to be elevated in 2022-23, mitigating action taken by the government and RBI may reduce its duration. Evidence on consumption patterns further suggests that inflation in India has a lesser impact on low-income strata than on high-income groups," the finance ministry's monthly economic review said.

RBI in an off-cycle announcement earlier this month hiked the key repo rate -- at which it lends short term money to banks -- by 0.40 per cent to 4.40 per cent to tame inflation. This was the first rate hike since August 2018 and the sharpest in 11 years. Further, it said, since aggregate demand is recovering only gradually, the risk of sustained high inflation is low. Seen over a longer time horizon, it said, inflation in India's economy has not been as much a challenge as is sensed from month-to-month changes. CPI (Consumer Price Index)-based inflation during FY22 averaged 5.5 per cent, 50 basis points below the upper limit of the RBI monetary policy committee's inflation band, and lower than 6.2 per cent for FY21.

RBI had sharply raised its inflation projection for the current fiscal year to 5.7 per cent from the earlier forecast of 4.5 per cent due to geopolitical tensions. Beginning May, most of the major central banks, including US Federal Reserve and Bank of England, also increased their benchmark rate to rein in soaring inflation. Markets, as the rising bond yields show, have already priced in the increase in policy rates, including the ones expected later in the year, besides absorption of excess liquidity, it said.

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