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

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid