Prices of fuel and light, and clothing, bedding and footwear segments also remained in the double-digit

Even as WPI (wholesale price index) based headline inflation in March has been on a declining trend at 6.89 per cent, the price situation at the consumer level appears to provide no comfort with retail inflation way above at 9.47 per cent during the month.

Mainly responsible for pushing the CPI (consumer price index) based retail inflation level up from 8.83 per cent in February was a spurt in prices of essentials such as milk and its derivatives, vegetables, edible oils and protein-rich items such as eggs, meat and fish, as also fuels.

As per the official data released here, prices of milk and its products rose by 15.22 per cent year-on-year while edible oils were also costlier by 14.2 per cent. Keeping pace alongside were the prices of eggs, fish and meat which went up by 10.06 per cent and vegetables by 10.20 per cent.

On a yearly basis, prices of fuel were also higher by 11.8 per cent while clothing, bedding and footwear were also dearer by 12.50 per cent in March 2012.

As if to prepare the nation for a continued bout of inflation, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, while maintaining on Tuesday that the government would take additional steps to boost growth and contain the price spiral, had also admitted that the high level of inflation would persist for the time being.

Holding the same view, Reserve Bank Governor D. Subbarao had also stated that WPI headline inflation, though much above the apex bank's comfort zone, would stabilise at 6.5 per cent as a ‘necessary evil' during the current fiscal year.

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