New Delhi: On account of the high vegetable prices and manufactured items, inflation in March went up to 8.98 per cent, way above the RBI's expectation of 8 per cent. The overall inflation measured on the basis of Wholesale Price Index (WPI) was 8.31 per cent in February.

The increase in overall inflation for the second month in a row may force the central bank to review policy rate hikes in its policy meeting, scheduled for May 3.

As per the official data released on Friday, the high inflation was due to rising prices of manufactured items, milk, vegetable and fruits. In addition, high fuel costs due to spiralling international crude oil prices also contributed to the phenomenon.

Besides, food inflation accounting for nearly 15 per cent of overall WPI inflation, stood at 8.28 per cent for the week ended April 2.

The prices of primary articles went up by 12.96 per cent on an annual basis, according to the official data released on Friday.

During the month, fuel and power prices went up by 12.92 per cent, driven mainly by a 23.14 per cent rise in petrol prices and a 14.99 per cent jump in cooking gas (LPG) rates.

At the same time, the manufactured goods group index rose by 6.21 per cent on an annual basis. Manufactured items have the highest weight of 64.9 per cent in the WPI.

The WPI inflation for January was revised upwards to 9.35 per cent from the provisional estimates of 8.23 per cent.