Govt discontinues weekly WPI release

New Delhi: The government of India on Thursday announced discontinuing releasing weekly primary and food inflation data based on the Wholesale Price Index. "Weekly WPI is discontinued henceforth," the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, which releases the inflation data, said.

The government, however, will continue releasing the monthly headline or overall inflation data, which also contains the break-up for all segments including food, non-food, fuel and manufactured items.

The headline inflation figures for January are scheduled to be released on February 14.

Besides, from this month the government will also come out with a retail inflation data based on the all-India Consumer Price Index. The first nationwide CPI numbers, for the month of January, will come out on February 21.

The government has last month decided to do away with the practice of releasing the weekly primary and food inflation data as the figures were not portraying the "holistic" picture of the price situation.

The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by India`s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Senior officials had said that the reason for doing away with the weekly figures was because there used to be lot of variation in the weekly primary and food inflation numbers and the monthly data.

Besides, according to government sources, the weekly data were not giving any "clear and holistic" picture of the inflation situation.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry compiles and releases the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) data on primary articles and fuel and power every week, mostly on Thursdays.

The primary articles include food items. The government also releases monthly data on overall or headline inflation measured on WPI. The food inflation has a weight of about 14 per cent in the overall inflation.

Food inflation stood at (-) 1.03 for the week ended January 14, according to the data released last week. Headline for December was 7.47 per cent.

In September 2010, the government had changed the base year for calculating WPI to 2004-05 from 1993-94.

The new WPI series has 241 more items than in the old index. With the additional items, the WPI now measures a total of 676 items against 435 earlier.

Earlier, the government used to release the overall inflation data on weekly basis.

But in October 2009, it changed the calender and decided to release the comprehensive data on inflation on a monthly basis, but continued to release price movement of primary articles, including food, and fuel every week.