India’s retail inflation rose to a 17-month high of 6.95% in March, data released by the Union government on Tuesday showed. The previous high was recorded at 7.61% in October 2020.

Retail inflation, which is an indicator of price rise, continued to breach the threshold of 6% set by the Reserve Bank of India for the third consecutive month. The central bank aims to keep retail inflation between 2% and 6%.

In January, retail inflation, which is based on the consumer price index, stood at 6.01%. In February, it was 6.07%.

Tuesday’s data showed that food inflation increased to 7.68% in March from 5.85% in February. The rise in food inflation was mainly due to a surge in vegetable rates to 11.64% and oil and fats to 18.79% as compared to last year. Vegetables rates have almost doubled from February’s 6.1%.

The prices of meat and fish increased to 9.63% as compared to last year, while rates of milk and its products climbed to 4.71%.

Fuel and light rates, however, dropped to 7.52% as compared to 8.73% last month.

“Our analysis shows the poor are bearing the burden of inflation the most, given that food – which occupies the largest share of their consumption basket – recorded the sharpest rise,” said Dharmakirti Joshi, the chief economist at analytical company Crisil, reported The Hindu.