How inflation is calculated in india? Does it has any significance?

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We keep hearing the word “Inflation” every week in India. What is it?

Inflation is an increase in the price of a basket of goods and services that is representative of the economy as a whole. Inflation is an upward movement in the average level of prices. Its opposite is deflation, a downward movement in the average level of prices. The boundary between inflation and deflation is price stability.

inflation is caused by a combination of four factors:

  • The supply of money goes up.
  • The supply of other goods goes down.
  • Demand for money goes down.
  • Demand for other goods goes up.

How it will be calculated in India?

India uses unlike CPI uses the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) to calculate and then decide the inflation rate in the economy.Most developed countries use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to calculate inflation.

Wholesale Price Index (WPI)

WPI was first published in 1902, and was one of the more economic indicators available to policy makers until it was replaced by most developed countries by the Consumer Price Index in the 1970s.WPI is the index that is used to measure the change in the average price level of goods traded in wholesale market. In India, a total of 435 commodities data on price level is tracked through WPI which is an indicator of movement in prices of commodities in all trade and transactions. It is also the price index which is available on a weekly basis with the shortest possible time lag only two weeks. The Indian government has taken WPI as an indicator of the rate of inflation in the economy.
That’s the reason we are now having a record of .5%, .25% as inflation where as in real life none of the products are cheaper which is more than at the level of 7% inflation rate.
WPI will not give accurate picture of the price level of commodities.Here we are not considering services at all.
Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is used by major developed countries will be more accurate and will show the practical inflationary data
CPI is a statistical time-series measure of a weighted average of prices of a specified set of goods and services purchased by consumers. It is a price index that tracks the prices of a specified basket of consumer goods and services, providing a measure of inflation.
CPI is a fixed quantity price index and considered by some a cost of living index. Under CPI, an index is scaled so that it is equal to 100 at a chosen point in time, so that all other values of the index are a percentage relative to this one.
Economists Shunmugam and Prasad say it is high time that India abandoned WPI and adopted CPI to calculate inflation.
India is the only major country that uses a wholesale index to measure inflation. Most countries use the CPI as a measure of inflation, as this actually measures the increase in price that a consumer will ultimately have to pay for.
First of all, they say, in India, there are four different types of CPI indices, and that makes switching over to the Index from WPI fairly ‘risky and unwieldy.’ The four CPI series are: CPI Industrial Workers; CPI Urban Non-Manual Employees; CPI Agricultural labourers; and CPI Rural labour.
Secondly, officials say the CPI cannot be used in India because there is too much of a lag in reporting CPI numbers.

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