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Laxmi Yadav, Mumbai November 29 , 2021
The Union ministry of statistics and programme implementation has started collecting price data for a new series of Wholesale Price Index (WPI) from organised manufacturing sectors including the pharmaceutical sector for the period April 2017 to July 2021 and onwards. The base year of the new series of WPI will be fiscal year 2017-18.
Currently, the base year of WPI is FY 2011-12 which is effective from April 2017.
The data is being collected under the provisions of the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 (7 of 2009) and Rules framed thereunder in 2011.
A notice is being served to manufacturers of selected commodities including pharmaceuticals to furnish monthly price data covering information on ex-factory/basic price, trade discount (if any), state/central excise duty or GST from April 2017 to latest current month and thereafter regularly on monthly basis, relating to selected products manufactured by units within a period of one month. Last date for submitting data relating to the selected commodity month is 7th of the succeeding month.
The manufacturers can send price data relating to selected commodities in a prescribed format through email/speed post to the address/email-id of regional office/sub-regional office.
The ministry of commerce and industry in consultation with the ministry of statistics and programme implementation had appointed statistics officers last year to collect the price data which will be used in compilation of new series of WPI.
According to a notification issued by the commerce ministry, the owner or occupier of a unit (i.e., a factory or establishment or enterprise) selected for collection of price data who would be issued notice by a statistics officer needs to furnish information about the unit which will include business records of a unit, such as HSN codes, balance sheet, profit and loss account, muster rolls, attendance register, labour register, pay rolls, director’s report or any other legal document in support of the information furnished by the unit.
This information may be verified by the statistics officer or a person authorised by him.
The statistics collected in respect of the survey on monthly backlog price data 2017-18 to 2021-22 furnished by the informants, after due verification and scrutiny, will be processed by officials working at the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
As per Section 3 and Section 4 of the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 (7 of 2009) read with rule 5 and rule 7 of the Collection of Statistics Rules, 2011, the commerce ministry has initiated steps to collect statistics on wholesale prices of manufacturing items including pharmaceutical products for new series of WPI through online statistical survey.
The statistical survey will be referred to as ‘Survey on monthly backlog price data 2017-18 to 2021-22’. Statistics relating to wholesale prices of organised manufacturing sector is collected through monthly backlog price data 2017-18 to 2021-22 survey.
Amit Jain, co-chairman, Federation of Corrugated Box Manufacturers of India (FCBM), national association in the corrugated paper packaging industry who has been raising the issue of modification in price data collection mode over the last four years, said “Price data is being collected in an outdated way. For instance, the data is still being collected from manufacturers of selected commodities who have changed their business and they have no presence in the particular commodity trade for which price data is being collected from them.”  
FCBM has made several representations to the government urging it to change the way the price data is being collected for WPI. HSN code should be considered while collecting price data from manufacturers of selected commodities for WPI, Jain suggested.
“WPI captures the average movement of wholesale prices of raw materials and finished goods. 70 per cent of raw material suppliers who who have been empanelled for providing price data relating to selected commodities hardly represent their segment. Earlier they used to represent their sector but they have changed their business over the years. Efforts need to be made to empanel those who represent their sector,” he said.
The government has taken serious note of our suggestions and efforts are being made to collect price data related to selected commodities from manufacturers engaged in production of those commodities, he added.
Hailing the statistical survey, Amit Chawla, secretary, MP Small Scale Drugs Manufacturers Association, said “The statistical survey initiated by the government to come out with new series of Wholesale Price Index is much needed step to track the changes in the price of goods before they reach consumers. The prices of raw materials used for drug production have zoomed up considerably since the Covid-19 outbreak. The prices of raw materials such as active pharmaceutical ingredients, excipients and packing materials are going up every month. Cost escalation of inputs and supply challenges are making manufacturing operations unviable.”
“WPI is the main measure of inflation. We hope the new series of WPI will truly reflect changes in commodity prices at a selected stage,” said Chawla.

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