Cell phones, digicams to be among new WPI items

The current index has many obsolete items which are being replaced by more relevant ones


“The existing series has many obsolete items. They will not figure in the new series...there will be 25-30 articles which you will not see in the new index we are compiling,” an official said. With the addition of new items, data reporting would be more representative and give a better picture of the price situation, the official claimed. The base year for the new index will be 2004-05 while the WPI is presently calculated on 1993-94 base.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), which brings out the inflation data, has started a trial run of the new index and data is being collected.
Year-end release

More than 300 new items such as cell phones and laptop computers would be in the new series that is expected to be released by the end of 2009, the official said.
Most of the addition would be in the manufacturing products category and the primary items, which consist of food grains and milk, would remain unchanged, the official added.

There could be minor changes in the fuel, power light and lubricant group. In the trail index, data for 1,100 items are being collected, which would be eventually consolidated to about 700 articles, the official said. In the existing series, the weight of primary articles is 22.02 per cent while manufactured products contribute 63.75 per cent.

The weight of fuel, power, light and lubricants in the index is about 14 per cent.

Index for services sector
Besides, the government is working on an index to measure rise in prices in the services sector, which includes telecom, banking and aviation.
The services price index is expected to be on the lines of the wholesale price index or the consumer price index and will measure price movements within the sector.
The index for the telecom sector is almost complete while the railways are doing it in-house. Sources say the index for these two sectors would be out in the next six months.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotionlast year had set up an expert committee for developing the index.

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