By Rohit and Jhalak Some Rajya Sabha seats will be contested over the next year. The Presidential elections are also scheduled to be held in 2012. The recent assembly elections has implications for both these elections. The Presidential elections will depend on the strenght in the assemblies, in Lok Sabha and in Rajya Sabha (which could change over the next year). Implications for Rajya Sabha Elections The composition of Rajya Sabha may undergo some changes. A total of 12 Rajya Sabha seats are up for election in 2011. This includes 6 seats from West Bengal, 3 from Gujarat and 1 each from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Goa. Another 65 seats, across 18 states, go for elections in early 2012. The largest chunk of these seats comes from UP(10), followed by Andhra Pradesh(6), Bihar(6) and Maharashtra(6). Since Rajya Sabha members are elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of the State, a change in the composition of the assembly can affect the election outcome. We used the current assembly compositions to work out scenarios for Rajya Sabha in 2011 and 2012. There could be alliances between parties for the Rajya Sabha elections, so we have estimated a range for each grouping (Scenario I and II) for 2012. See Notes  and .
|Parties/ Coalitions||2010||Scenario 2011||Scenario 2012|
Implications for the election of the President The President is elected in accordance with the provisions of Article 54 and 55 of the Constitution. The electorate consists of the elected members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and all Legislative Assemblies. Each MP/ MLA's vote has a pre-determined value based on the population they represent. The election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. The winning candidate must secure at least 50% of the total value of votes polled. (For details, refer to this Election Commission document). There is no change in the Lok Sabha composition (unless there are bye-elections). Position in Legislative Assemblies After the recent round of assembly elections, the all-India MLA count adds up to:
The above numbers can now be used to estimate the value of votes polled by each coalition. See Note :
|Value of votes cast||Scenario - 1||Scenario - 2|
|Min. to be elected||549,442||549,442|
The UPA has the highest value of votes polled but the figure is not sufficient to get its candidate elected. Assuming that there are at most three candidates with significant support (UPA, NDA, and Left/Third Front), the winner will be the one who manages to bridge the gap with second preference votes. On this factor, the UPA backed candidate is likely to hold the edge over others. Notes:  At present, there are four vacant seats in Rajya Sabha (1 Maharashtra, 1 TN, 1 WB and 1 Nominated). It is assumed that all these seats are filled up in 2011.  Three of the 11 nominated members in the current Rajya Sabha have declared their party affiliation as INC. These have been included in the UPA count in the above analysis. For the sake of simplicity, it is assumed that members who get nominated in 2011/ 12 are not aligned to any party/ coalition.  The above analysis is based on the assumption that the next set of assembly elections happen after the Presidential election.
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided to conduct an off-cycle meeting today to discuss the failure to meet the inflation target under Section 45ZN of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. As per the Reserve Bank of India Act (RBI), 1934, MPC is required to meet at least four times each year, to discuss the macroeconomic issues in the country, and take policy decisions to address those. This is the second time MPC has conducted an off-cycle meeting in 2022-23. The meeting is scheduled in light of inflation being consistently high for nine consecutive months.
In this blog, we discuss what the inflation targeting framework is, examine retail and wholesale prices, and the divergence between them.
What is the inflation targeting framework, and what happens if inflation is persistently high?
In 2016, Parliament amended the RBI Act, 1934 to change the monetary policy, and introduce an inflation targeting framework. This framework prioritises price stability to achieve sustainable GDP growth. Price stability allows investors to confidently invest their money for productive activities, without worrying about it losing value. Price stability also maintains the purchasing power of consumers, i.e., the ability to purchase a good (or service) with a given amount of money.
As per the new framework, the central government, in consultation with RBI sets: (i) an inflation target, and (ii) an upper and lower tolerance level for retail inflation. The target has been set at 4%, with an upper tolerance limit of 6% and a lower tolerance limit of 2%. The upper and lower limits indicate that although it is desirable for inflation to be close to 4%, deviation between these limits is acceptable. The target and bands are revised every five years. In March 2021, the existing targets were carried forward.
Retail inflation has been above 6% for the past nine months, and it has been above 4% from October 2019 onwards (See Figure 1).
Figure 1: Consumer price index (year-on-year; in percentage)
Sources: Database on Indian Economy, Reserve Bank of India; PRS.
If inflation is above or below the prescribed limits for three quarters, RBI must submit a report to the central government explaining why prices have been rising (or falling) persistently, what will be done to correct that, and an estimate as to when the target will be achieved.
The MPC uses tools such as interest rates to control the level of inflation in the economy. One such rate is the policy repo rate, which is the rate at which RBI lends money to banks. An increase in the policy repo rate makes borrowing money more costly, and hence is expected to control inflation by reducing the money supply. MPC increased this rate from 4% in April 2022 to 4.4% in May 2022, to 4.9% in June 2022, to 5.4% in August 2022, and to 5.9% in September 2022.
Breaking down the Consumer Price Index and the Wholesale Price Index
Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the general prices of goods and services such as food, clothing, and fuel over time. Retail inflation is calculated as the change in the CPI over a period of time. Goods and services such as petrol, food products, health, and education are considered for its calculation, which are assigned different weights (See Table 1). Between February 2022 and August 2022, the average annual inflation was 6.9%. The rise in prices of subcomponents of the CPI during this period is indicated in Table 2.
Table 1: Assigned weights for the calculation of CPI
Sources: MOSPI; PRS.
Table 2: Average inflation of some CPI components
Sources: Database on Indian Economy, RBI; PRS.
CPI is not the only index that measures inflation in an economy. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) measures the wholesale prices of goods. A change in wholesale prices reflects wholesale inflation. Table 3 indicates the weights assigned to goods for calculating the WPI. Manufactured goods include metals, chemicals, food products, and textiles.
Primary articles (23%) include food articles, and crude petroleum and natural gas. Fuel and power (12%) include mineral oils, electricity, and coal. WPI has remained above 10% from April 2021 onwards. It reached an all-time high of 17% in May 2022. This was driven by the inflation in metals, kerosene and petroleum coke, fruits and vegetables, and palm oil.
Table 3:Assigned weights for the
Sources: Ministry of Commerce and Industry; PRS.
Why has WPI inflation been consistently above CPI inflation?
Movements in the WPI have an impact on the CPI. For almost a year and half, CPI inflation has remained below WPI inflation. However, as per the design of the indices, it is expected that CPI would remain above WPI, and that any increase in WPI would reflect in the CPI after a time lag. This is because retail prices include taxes (as a percentage of price), while wholesale prices do not. Additionally, some of the goods in WPI act as inputs in the goods considered in CPI. An increase in input prices would lead to higher retail prices after a time lag.
We discuss possible reasons for why CPI has remained below WPI for a year and a half.
Figure 2: Consumer Price Index and Wholesale Price Index
Sources: Database on Indian Economy, Reserve Bank of India; PRS.
Composition of indices
As indicated in Table 2 and 3, the composition of the two indices varies. For instance, prices of manufacture of basic metals, chemicals, and machinery grew at an average rate of 13% between February 2021 and September 2022. They contribute 7% to the WPI. These are input goods for producing final goods and services such as automobiles, which are included in the CPI. The rise in prices of transport vehicles, communication devices, fuel for transport, and housing (CPI components) rose by 6% during this period.
The Ministry of Finance has observed that wholesale prices did not feed into retail prices (from March 2021 onwards) as wholesalers absorbed the rising input costs and did not pass them on to retailers. In August 2022, it noted that as retail prices are rising now, the pass-through may occur.