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Food inflation rises to 16.44% for the week ended 18th September

New Delhi: Food inflation increased to 16.44% in the week ended 18th September, climbing 0.98 percentage points from 15.46% in the previous week. The rise in food inflation was due to a rise the cost of cereals, fruits, select vegetables and milk on account of supply disruptions due to heavy rains and floods, reports PTI.

This was the fifth consecutive week in which the rate of food prices has risen, after a spell of moderation in July and the first half of August.

An unusually heavy spell of late monsoon showers had resulted in severe flooding across many states, including Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, resulting in disruption of supplies.

On an annual basis, cereals prices rose by 6.11%, driven mainly by higher prices of pulses, rice and wheat.

While prices of pulses rose 5.94% on a yearly basis, wheat and rice became costlier by 9.14% and 4.05%, respectively.

Among other food items, milk prices soared by 24.32% during the week compared to the same period last year, while prices of fruits rose by 15.13%.

Vegetables also became dearer by 5.87% on an annual basis. Onion prices went up by 1.39% year-on-year, but potato prices declined by 50.48%, continuing the trend of the last few months.

Fuel inflation declined to 10.73% for the week ended 18th September from 11.48% in the week ended 11th September.

The wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation for the month of August stood at 8.51%, according to the new Wholesale Price Inflation (WPI) series released by the government earlier this month.

As per the old series with a base year of 1993-94, WPI inflation stood at 9.5% for the month.

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LIC: Buries death. A bit too late!

At last, the new LIC corporate commercial chucks widowhood, and instead tries to remind folks about their responsibilities to their families

After a gap of many years, the LIC chaps have figured that selling death may not be such a great idea in the New India. Until now, the life insurance behemoth has been featuring a widow to make its point about the importance of insuring life, as part of its umbrella corporate campaign.

While the widow herself was shown to have had her future secured by her late LIC-invested hubby, the thought of death during family dinners may not be palatable any more. Or so seems to think LIC. And the shiny, happy route the private insurance companies prefer in their advertising must have prompted LIC to smell the coffee. And make a transition from death to life.

Keeping with that strategy, the new LIC corporate commercial chucks widowhood, and instead tries to remind folks about their responsibilities to their families. The ad is clearly targeted at individuals who don't believe in insuring their lives. The film is set in a 'Kumbh Mela' sort of an environment. In all the shor gul and teeming crowds, a dad loses sight of his playful young daughter. And then begins the tension of the parent. The subliminal thought: The imminent tragedy of suddenly losing a loved one forever. And therefore the need for life insurance.

Of course, since this is no Manmohan Desai film (in which case the dad would have found his lovely beti inside a Kamathipura dwelling after 30 years), he finds the missing daughter within 30 seconds. So no tragedies, please!

Yes, the film does strike a chord. It's got the emotional ingredients, it's set in the desi milieu, and the execution and the performances by the protagonists are warm too. And it's good to see LIC isn't spoiling our dinner get-together by featuring sobbing widows. However, beyond that, there's nothing refreshingly new being told to potential consumers about the need for life insurance. The problem is, the private insurance players have exhausted all possible emotions in this category. Worry, tears, humour, happiness, joie-de-vivre, etc… so there's no idea handle left to pull on. Except to try and create some sort of an appeal through different executions.

In short, like all public sector sleeping giants, LIC has woken up too late. And from here on, it will have to rely on situational freshness to hawk its policies. The sad widow may have been junked, but as far as the ad concepts go, sadly, LIC has been left widowed. And no policy will help it come out of this communications tragedy!

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