Retail inflation for industrial workers rose to 5.64 per cent in March, mainly due to higher prices of certain food items and fuel including petrol and cooking gas.
"Year-on-year inflation for the month (March) stood at 5.64 per cent compared to 4.48 per cent for the previous month (February 2021) and 5.50 per cent during the corresponding month (March 2020) of the previous year," the labour ministry said in a statement.
Food inflation stood at 5.36 per cent against 4.64 per cent of the previous month and 6.67 per cent during the corresponding month a year ago, according to the statement.
The All-India CPI-IW (Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers) for March 2021 increased 0.6 points and stood at 119.6 points.
On a 1-month percentage change, it increased by 0.50 per cent with respect to the previous month (February 2021) whereas there was a decline of 0.61 per cent between corresponding months a year ago.
The maximum upward pressure in the current index came from 'fuel and light' group contributing 0.40 percentage points to the total change, it said.
It was further supplemented by a miscellaneous group contributing 0.15 percentage points to the total rise.
At the item level, cooking gas, petrol, poultry chicken, edible oils, apple, orange, tea leaf, and served and processed packaged food are responsible for the rise in the index.
However, this increase was mostly checked by vegetables, putting downward pressure on the index.
At the centre level, Jamshedpur and Sangrur recorded the highest increase of 3 points each. Among others, four centres observed an increase in the range of 2-2.9 points, 22 centres in 1-1.9 points and 45 centres 0-0.9 points.
On the contrary, Doom-Dooma Tinsukia recorded the highest decrease of 3.2 points. Among others, two centres observed a decline in the range of 2-2.9 points, another 2 centres in 1-1.9 points and the remaining 10 centres 0-0.9 points.
Labour Bureau Director-General D P S Negi said, "The rise in inflation during March 2021 has been observed across the board in respect of various price indices released by other government agencies."
Negi further elaborated that the rise is mainly due to hike in 'fuel and light', miscellaneous and food and beverages items (like cooking gas), petrol, poultry chicken, and edible oils, among others.
Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said, "The rise in the index will result into increased wages of the working-class population by way of increase in dearness allowance payable to them."
CPI-IW is the single most important price statistics that have financial implications.
It is primarily used to regulate the dearness allowance of government employees and workers in industrial sectors. It is also used in the fixation and revision of minimum wages in scheduled employments besides measuring the inflation in retail prices.
The rise in inflation reported during March 2021 was mainly due to an increase in prices of petroleum products and edible oils, Gangwar added.
The Labour Bureau, an attached office of the labour and employment ministry, has been compiling the Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers every month on the basis of retail prices collected from 317 markets spread over 88 industrially important centres in the country.
The index is compiled for 88 centres and all-India and is released on the last working day of the succeeding month.