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Updated on June 20, 2024 , 179802 views

What is Inflation?

Inflation is the long-term rise in the prices of goods and services caused by the devaluation of currency. Inflationary problems arise when we experience unexpected inflation which is not adequately matched by a rise in people’s incomes. The idea behind inflation being a force for good in the Economy is that a manageable enough rate can spur Economic Growth without devaluing the currency so much that it becomes nearly worthless. Central banks attempt to limit inflation — and avoid deflation — in order to keep the economy running smoothly.


Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising and, consequently, the purchasing power of currency is falling. If incomes do not increase along with the prices of goods, everyone’s purchasing power has been effectively reduced, which can in turn lead to a slowing or stagnant economy. Central banks and governments closely monitor inflation and take measures to manage it within a target Range, often aiming for a low and stable rate of inflation to promote economic stability and growth.

Types of Inflation

1. Demand-Pull Inflation

Demand pull inflation occurs when aggregate demand is growing at an unsustainable rate leading to increased pressure on scarce resources and a positive output gap. Demand-Pull Inflation becomes a threat when an economy has experienced a boom with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rising faster than the long-run trend growth of potential GDP

2. Cost-push Inflation

Cost-push inflation occurs when firms respond to rising costs by increasing prices in order to protect their profit margins.

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Causes of Inflation

There is not a single, agreed-upon answer, but there are a variety of theories, all of which play some role in inflation:

Causes of Demand-Pull Inflation

  • A depreciation of the exchange rate
  • Higher demand from a fiscal stimulus
  • Monetary stimulus to the economy
  • Fast growth in other countries

Causes of Cost-push Inflation

  • An increase in the prices of Raw Materials and other components
  • Rising labour cost
  • Expectations of inflation
  • Higher indirect Taxes
  • A fall in the exchange rate
  • Monopoly employers/profit-push inflation

Effects of Inflation

  • Reduced Purchasing Power: Inflation erodes the purchasing power of money. This means that with the same amount of money, individuals can buy fewer goods and services than they could before.

  • Uncertainty: High or unpredictable inflation can create economic uncertainty, making it difficult for individuals and businesses to plan for the future.

  • Interest Rates: Central banks often use interest rates as a tool to control inflation. When inflation is high, central banks may raise interest rates to reduce borrowing and spending, which can slow down inflation.

  • Income Redistribution: Inflation can impact different groups of people differently. Those with fixed incomes, such as retirees on pensions, may find it more difficult to make ends meet during periods of high inflation.

  • Measurement of Inflation: Inflation is typically measured using price indices, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Producer Price Index (PPI) being common tools. The CPI measures changes in the prices of a Basket of Goods and services that an average urban consumer buys, while the PPI measures changes in the prices of goods and services at the wholesale level.


1. What is inflation?

A: Inflation refers to the rise in the price of goods and services and the decreasing purchasing power of money. This increase in the price of goods and services against money's purchasing power is measured over the long term. Inflation is often expressed as a percentage, and it is usually used as an indicator of a country's economic condition.

2. What are the main effects of inflation?

A: The main effect of inflation is that the cost of goods and services will increase over a given period. For example, the cost of similar commodities can double in 20 years due to inflation. When inflation is high, the cost of living increases and the currency's purchasing power reduces. Hence, the cost of goods and services increases.

3. Does inflation affect economic growth?

A: Yes, inflation affects the economy. Slow inflation is necessary to promote growth and help economic progress. It also encourages the consumer to purchase and save. However, hyperinflation can prove to be harmful to the economy as it can cause the piece of goods and services to increase significantly and lead to hoarding, reduced savings, and prevent economic growth.

4. Who measures inflation in India?

A: The Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation releases the Consumer Price Indices (CPI) based on which inflation rates are measured in India.

5. How is inflation measured?

A: In India, inflation is measured based on the Consumer Price Index. In other countries, the Wholesale Price Index and the Producer Price Index are also used to measure inflation.

6. What are the leading causes of inflation?

A: The leading causes of inflation are as follows:

  • The depreciation of the value of the currency.
  • The increasing purchasing power of the consumer.
  • The increasing labor cost.
  • Higher indirect taxes.
  • Increasing operational expenses.

The causes of inflation will also depend on whether the economy is experiencing demand-pull inflation or cost-push inflation.

7. How can RBI control inflation?

A: The RBI can control inflation by increasing the Cash Reserve Ration or the CRR by reducing the commercial banks' ability to lend. Similarly, by increasing the Reverse Repo Rate or the rate at which banks borrow from the RBI, the Central Bank of India can restrict the commercial banks' lending ability. This subsequently can reduce inflation.

8. Is inflation bad?

A: To a certain extent, inflation is suitable for economic growth, but uncontrolled inflation can be harmful to the economy.

9. Does inflation affect the price of goods?

A: Yes, inflation increases the price of goods as it reduces the currency's value and purchasing power.

All efforts have been made to ensure the information provided here is accurate. However, no guarantees are made regarding correctness of data. Please verify with scheme information document before making any investment.
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Priyanka, posted on 3 Mar 22 2:48 PM

Very helpful information

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Very informative

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