A pick up in food inflation in the latest data is part of inflationary fluctuations, the finance minister said on Thursday, in a further attempt to calm market jitters over soaring food prices.
"Just yesterday I said that these types of fluctuations take place, sometimes weekly fluctuations, sometimes monthly fluctuations," Pranab Mukherjee said.
"Price rise is always, particularly of the essential commodities and food, are a matter of grave concern."
Mukherjee had said on Wednesday that he expected inflationary fluctuations in the next three months or so, but the overall trend for prices was to moderate.
Food price index rose for a second straight week to 17.05 % and the fuel price index climbed 11.61 % in the year to Jan. 22, government data on Thursday showed. In the prior week, annual food and fuel inflation stood at 15.57 % and 10.87 %.
Food inflation, which has remained mostly in double digits for the past one year, has been the main driver of headline inflation in Asia's third-largest economy.
The central bank last month raised interest rates by 25 basis points to clamp down on resurgent inflation, which stood at 8.43 % in December, and warned of persistently high food prices unless steps are taken to boost supplies.
Under pressure over its inability to stem soaring food prices for much of the past year, the government has missed many of its own projections on inflation. Mukherjee's second mention of fluctuations in as many days may be a way of tempering expectations of a swift drop in prices.