India Post is helping the central statistical organization (CSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation to collect data for the consumer price index since 2010. It uses an online portal system to collect uploaded data, a system that could be used to collect data to compile the Index of Industrial Production, or IIP.
“This will help us improve response rate significantly and that in turn will potentially bring down the fluctuation and major revisions in the IIP data,” SK Das, director general, CSO told media.Through the online portal, every postman collecting price data across the country uploads his findings in a standerdised format directly into a central data server of the CSO. This has proved to be a simple replacement of conventional collection procedures in which the district data collectors pass information to state level officers, who collate it and send it to the CSO, who work the final figures out. The excessive mediation at 2-3 levels results in low response rates, delayed reporting and increased errors due to lack of standardised format of collection and collation – problems which all important Indian statistics including the IIP are currently facing.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has also replaced conventional manual collection and sourcing of data to improve the response rate and time lag in the wholesale price index (WPI). After mandating online data reporting for the WPI, the CSO found that the response rate jumped to 80%, a 30% growth. It is now trying to implement a similar system for the index of industrial production (IIP), which measures industrial activity in the country.