The daily average retail prices of wheat flour (atta) have jumped over 17% in the past one year, becoming almost equal to that of rice (Rs 37.96 per kg) and closing the gap with sugar (Rs 42.69 per kg), The Indian Express reported Friday.
Citing data collated by the Department of Consumer Affairs, the report said the all-India average retail price of wheat flour was recorded at Rs 36.98 per kg on Tuesday. This reflected a rise of 17.51 per cent from a year ago, when it was Rs 31.47 a kg.
The rise in atta prices has come on the back of an increase in wheat prices. The retail price of wheat has increased 12.01% — from Rs 28.34 per kg to Rs 31.77 per kg during the past on year.
Market experts have blamed the rise in prices of wheat flour, an essential commodity in Indian households, on lower production and rising demand globally due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Before the government restricted the export of wheat in May this year amid a lower output of 106 million tonnes, actual shipments had doubled in the first 6 months of this financial year (between April-September) as compared to last year, the report said.
The government had allowed two kinds of exports after the May decision: exports permitted by the Centre to countries to help them meet their food security needs and contracted exports against which irrevocable letters of credit had been issued.
“Export regulations were put in place in May; since then, the increase has been about 7%. If you factor in the MSP [minimum support price] increase, it is just about 3% to 4%, which I would say is not very high. This, of course, is a rise but not a rise which warrants some kind of action other than what we have already done,” food secretary Sanjeev Chopra told reporters on Wednesday.