News / Asia

India Hikes Interest Rates to Control Rising Prices

India's opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leader L.K. Advani, center, with party supporters march towards Indian parliament to protest against the price rise in New Delhi, India (File Photo)
India's opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leader L.K. Advani, center, with party supporters march towards Indian parliament to protest against the price rise in New Delhi, India (File Photo)

India has hiked interest rates for the sixth time this year, in a bid to tackle high inflation. One of the government's most challenging problem is to curb rising food prices.      

Just days ahead of India's main festival, Diwali, shoppers crowd a popular market in New Delhi.  They have come to buy traditional Indian sweets, nuts and other gifts which are customarily exchanged with friends and family.

But rising costs of these items have cast a dampener on the Hindu festival of lights. Shubha Gupta says prices are up substantially, compared to last year.

"Giving gifts is a problem.  I mean we have to make compromises," said Gupta.  "We are not going in for sweets and all, but we will go in for other things."

A huge hike in food prices has emerged as the toughest problem for the government to tackle, as India copes with persistently high inflation.  Although overall inflation is down to about eight and a half percent, food inflation is hovering around 15 percent.

Citing inflation as an overriding concern, the Central Bank Tuesday raised interest rates by a quarter percentage point.  It is the sixth time this year interest rates have been hiked in a bid to tame inflation.

The deputy secretary of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, says inflation continues to be an issue.   
"It is true that inflation is still at a range which is not comfortable, although, as we have been saying, it is going down," said Ahluwalia.

Policy makers say the rising interest rates will not disrupt the momentum of growth in the economy, which has recovered from the global financial crisis.

The return to growth of around eight and a half percent is providing some compensation for the middle classes.

Among them is Varsha Jain.  As she goes around the market, she admits that her budget is under strain.

But she says salaries have been increasing and, therefore, it is not surprising that shopkeepers have also raised food prices.

However, millions of poor people in the country, who are marginalized by the growing economy, are finding it particularly hard to cope with the higher food prices.

Tulsi Ram, who is selling flowers on a pavement outside a confectionery shop, says the rising prices have no impact to those who are earning well, but he will have to cut down his purchases for the festival. 

The government was hoping that good monsoon rains and an ample harvest would tame food prices.  But that has not happened.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Monday that the continued rise in the cost of living is a matter of concern. The government is hoping that the steps taken to control prices, such as raising interest rates, will bring down inflation to about six to seven percent, by March.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid