Much to the discomfiture of the Centre and in a further jolt to the common man, food inflation zoomed to almost a year's high at 18.32 per cent for the week ended December 25, 2010, owing to a spurt in the prices of vegetables, onions and milk.

The sudden spurt in the wholesale price index-based food inflation from 14.44 per cent a mere week ago — and more than double of what it was a month earlier — has not only surprised the government but also reduced it to helplessness, saying prices are not “fully” within its control.

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