The accuracy of India’s economic data has been subject to much controversy in recent years, but it had not engulfed inflation rates based on the consumer price index (CPI). Might that be changing? On Tuesday, the official release for August showed inflation easing to 6.8% year-on-year from a 15-month high of 7.4% in July. This is the gauge used by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which is mandated to pursue price stability so that the rupee loses its real retail value only slowly and predictably, turning our currency into the economy’s ally in pursuit of sustained growth. RBI’s central target for inflation is 4%, the difficulty of achieving which has perplexed its monetary policy. Its chief policy rate of 6.5% remains negative in real terms, an aberration, but it expects prices driven up by volatile food items to cool within a month or so, saving it the trouble of having to tighten credit further to dampen demand. Whether RBI’s price-level projections work out will determine if its rate ‘pause’ turns into a pivot. But what if India’s inflation tracker is inaccurate? What if our cost of living isn’t rising as sharply as CPI readings say and policy needn’t tilt at a mere windmill?