Case study: Inflation
What is causing Inflation?
Inflation is the rise in prices which occurs when the demand for goods and services exceeds their available supply. In simpler terms, inflation is a situation where too much money chases too few goods. In India, the wholesale price index (WPI), which was the main measure of the inflation rate consisted of three main components - primary articles, which included food articles, constituting 22% of the index; fuel, constituting 14% of the index; and manufactured goods, which accounted for the remaining 64% of the index.
For purposes of analysis and to measure more accurately the price levels for different sections of society and as well for different regions, the RBI also kept track of consumer price indices. The average annual GDP growth in the 2000s was about 6% and during the second quarter (July- September) of fiscal 2006-2007, the growth rate was as high as 9.2%. All this growth was bound to lead to higher demand for goods. However, the growth in the supply of goods, especially food articles such as wheat and pulses, did not keep pace with the growth in demand. As a result, the prices of food articles increased. According to Subir Gokarn, Executive Director and Chief Economist, CRISIL, "The inflationary pressures have been particularly acute this time due to supply side constraints [of food articles] which are a combination of temporary and structural factors."
In late 2006 and early 2007, the RBI announced some measures to control inflation. These measures included increasing repo rates, the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and reducing the rate of interest on cash deposited by banks with the RBI. With the increase in the repo rates and bank rates, banks had to pay a higher interest rate for the money they borrowed from the RBI. Consequently, the banks increased the rate at which they lent to their customers. The increase in the CRR reduced the money supply in the system because banks now...
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