Retail inflation for farm workers and rural labourers rose marginally to 2.78 per cent and 2.96 per cent in March, mainly due to higher prices of certain food items. Consumer Price Index-Agricultural Labourers (CPI-AL) and Consumer Price Index-Rural Labourers (CPI-RL) had stood at 2.67 per cent and 2.76 per cent, respectively, in February 2021.
“Point-to-point rate of inflation based on the CPI-AL and CPI-RL increased to 2.78 per cent and 2.96 per cent in March 2021 from 2.67 per cent and 2.76 per cent, respectively, in February 2021,” the labour ministry said in a statement. It showed that CPI-AL and CPI-RL stood at 8.98 per cent and 8.69 per cent in March 2020.
According to the statement, inflation based on the food index of CPI-AL and CPI-RL are at (+) 1.66 per cent and (+) 1.86 per cent, respectively, in March 2021. The All-India CPI numbers for agricultural labourers and rural labourers for March 2021 decreased by 2 points and 1 points to stand at 1,035 and 1,043 points, respectively.
The CPI-AL and CPI-RL indices stood at 1,007 points and 1,013 points, respectively, in March 2020. The major contribution towards the fall in the general index of agricultural labourers and rural labourers came from food with (-) 3.69 points and (-) 3.34 points, respectively, mainly due to fall in prices of jowar, onion, chillies green, garlic, vegetables and fruits, the ministry stated. The fall or rise in the index varied from state to state, it said.
In the case of agricultural labourers, the index recorded a decrease of 1-9 points in 13 states and an increase of 1-8 points in seven states. Tamil Nadu, with 1,243 points, topped the index table; whereas Himachal Pradesh, with 814 points, stood at the bottom.
In the case of rural labourers, it recorded a decrease of 1-8 points in 12 states and an increase of 1-7 points in eight states. Tamil Nadu, with 1,229 points, topped the index table; whereas Bihar, with 839 points, stood at the bottom. Among states, the maximum decrease in the CPI numbers for agricultural labourers and rural labourers was experienced by Tamil Nadu (-9 points and -8 points, respectively), mainly due to fall in the prices of jowar, onion and vegetables and fruits.
On the contrary, the maximum increase in the CPI numbers for agricultural labourers and rural labourers was experienced by Tripura (+8 points and +7 points), mainly due to a rise in the prices of rice, mustard oil, vegetables and fruits, and kerosene oil. In the statement, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said, “The decline in index (month-on-month) will benefit the millions of workers in rural areas, as it will put lesser burden on their daily budget.” Labour Bureau Director General D P S Negi said, “The decline in CPI-AL and -RL by 2 points and 1 point, respectively, is mainly impacted by a fall in the prices of essential items such as jowar, onion, chillies green, garlic, potato, brinjal, tomato, and ladyfinger.” This index is utilised for revision of minimum wages in scheduled employments under the Minimum Wages Act 1948, revision of MGNREGA wages, fixation of minimum support price, revision of cooking cost under the Mid-May Meal Scheme.