Does inflation make sense to the common man?
When is the National Statistics Day celebrated?
An average person may find it difficult to answer these questions.
Just as it is difficult to understand why the people are hurting even if the government inflation figures are near zero if not negative as they were a few weeks ago.
To talk of inflation near zero after visiting the vegetable vendor seems surreal.
Experts explain this as due to food items having less weight or influence in the weekly inflation measure which assesses wholesale prices.
An individual spends much more on food than the weekly inflation index makes allowance for.
Some of this is also due to creaky statistical infrastructure.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself indicated this in a speech to the conference of states on the management of statistics.
He pointed out that the National Statistical Commission had identified agriculture, labour, industry and commerce as sectors where the collection of raw data itself had declined.
That is a pretty exhaustive list.
As for inflation, efforts are on to evolve an inflation index representative of the country as a whole.
Do we need a single, credible measure for price rise or given India’s size — sectoral ones?
Should we have a separate, credible measure of inflation for ‘roti, kapda and makaan’?
As for the wholesale price index (WPI) the government has so far not come up with a decision on revamping it.
Is the issue getting clouded because of government tardiness?