New Delhi: India is hoping to bring out a new urban consumer price index (CPI) in April or May next year to give a more accurate and harmonized picture of prices in towns and cities, the country’s chief statistician said.
India’s most widely watched inflation rate at the moment is a wholesale price index that is published weekly but is generally lower than readings for several consumer price indices, published monthly. The three consumer price indices are for urban non-manual employees, for industrial workers and for agricultural workers.
Growth forecast: The Indian economy is likely to expand by 8.2% in the fourth quarter and by 8.7% in fiscal 2008, says Pronab Sen. (Harikrishna Katragadda/ Mint)
“We are talking at the moment, beginning with the consumer price index for the urban areas,” Pronab Sen, secretary in the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, said.
Preparations for new CPI-Urban were almost complete although how to go about actually collecting the data from retail outlets in 100 cities and towns remained a challenge as it was a labour-intensive task and Sen wanted at least one year of data before announcing the series. “So with luck, with no hiccups, we should be coming out in next (2009) April or May,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sen said India’s economic growth is slowing to a trend rate between 8% and 8.5% and that the annual growth in the January-March quarter is likely to be around 8.2%. The Indian economy was likely to grow about 8.7% in the fiscal year which ends on 31 March, as previously estimated, although the final rate might vary by 0.2 percentage points either way, Sen said.
Growth in the December quarter was 8.4% over the same period in 2006.
“We are converging onto a trend which is somewhere in the 8-8.5% region,” Sen said.