HYDERABAD: Telangana had the second-highest inflation rate in the country in January 2021 at 6.07 percent, according to the Consumer Price Index report of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Also, while most other states recorded higher inflation rate in urban areas than the rural, in Telangana it was the opposite. The inflation rate in rural Telangana was 7.17 percent and in urban areas it was 5.17 percent.
High food prices pushing inflation rate up in Telangana
The MoSPI released state-wise data of Consumer Price Indices for various products under six groups - 'Food and beverages', 'Pan, tobacco and intoxicants', 'Clothing and footwear', 'Housing', 'Fuel and light' and 'Miscellaneous'.
Looking into the data reveals that inflation is one of the highest in Telangana in Food and beverages, Clothing and footwear and Miscellaneous groups.
Inflation is lower than many states in Telangana in the Fuel and light category, most probably due to the free electricity being provided by the state to farmers.
Coming to Food and beverages, excluding the northeast states only Tamil Nadu and Kerala had higher Consumer Price Indices than Telangana whereas only three states had higher Consumer Price Indices than Telangana in the Clothing and footwear category.
Activists blame poor agricultural planning
Donthi Narsimha Reddy, a Hyderabad-based environmentalist and public policy activist said, "The state government is pushing cropping of just paddy and cotton and cultivation of food crops is taking a backseat. Real estate is gobbling up most of the lands. Outside Hyderabad, apart from the areas along Musi river there is no cultivation of vegetables for nearly 100km. We are reliant on other states for vegetables and fruits. Prices are pulses, vegetables and fruits in Telangana are skyrocketing."
In fact, Express found out that according to the state's own data, in the year 2014 the arrivals of vegetables at Rythu Bazars in January 2014 was 3,11,356 quintals and the average retail rate was Rs 20 per kg and the average Rythu bazar rate was Rs 10. In January 2021 the arrivals declined to almost halt to 1,76,834 quintals whereas the average retail as well as Rythu Bazar price increased to Rs 40.
Prof RV Ramanamurthy of the Economics department in University of Hyderabad said that high rate of urbanisation, exponentially increasing land prices, higher consumption and improvement in purchasing capacity might also be pushing up the prices in rural areas of the state.