In August 2023, the All-India Consumer Price Index Number for Agricultural Labourers (CPI-AL) and Rural Labourers (CPI-RL) witnessed significant increases of 9 points and 8 points, respectively, reaching 1224 and 1234 points. These indices serve as crucial indicators of the cost of living for labourers across India.
The principal contributor to this surge in both indices was the food group, contributing 8.38 points for Agricultural Labourers and 7.69 points for Rural Labourers. This increase can be attributed to rising prices in essential food items such as rice, wheat atta, pulses, milk, meat (goat), sugar, gur, chillies (dry), turmeric, garlic, onion, and mixed spices, among others.
“Regional variations in the index were observed, with increases ranging from 2 to 19 points across 20 states. Tamil Nadu secured the top position on the index table for Agricultural Labourers with 1423 points, while Himachal Pradesh stood at the bottom with 942 points”.
For Rural Labourers, the index showed an increase of 2 to 18 points in the same 20 states. Andhra Pradesh secured the top spot with 1412 points, while Himachal Pradesh once again occupied the lowest position with 1003 points.
“Among the states, Meghalaya experienced the most substantial increase in the Consumer Price Index Number for Agricultural Labourers, rising by 19 points. For Rural Labourers, Gujarat and Meghalaya each witnessed an 18-point increase, primarily due to escalating prices of rice, pulses, beef, groundnut oil, onion, green/dry chillies, firewood, and bus fares”.
The point-to-point rate of inflation, based on the CPI-AL and CPI-RL, stood at 7.37% and 7.12% in August 2023, respectively, compared to 7.43% and 7.26% in July 2023. These figures indicate a mild decrease in the rate of inflation. Moreover, when compared to the corresponding month of the previous year, the inflation rates for August 2023, at 6.94% for CPI-AL and 7.26% for CPI-RL, show a slight uptick.
“Food inflation followed a similar trend, standing at 8.89% for CPI-AL and 8.64% for CPI-RL in August 2023, compared to 8.88% and 8.63%, respectively, in July 2023. Compared to the same month in the previous year, these figures reveal a notable increase from 6.16% to 6.21%”.
The data released for August 2023 paints a comprehensive picture of the cost of living for labourers in India, with a focus on the critical role of food prices. It serves as a vital resource for policymakers and economists alike to assess the economic landscape for labourers in the country. The CPI-AL and CPI-RL for September 2023 are set to be unveiled on October 20, 2023, providing ongoing insights into the nation’s economic dynamics.