The government's decision to do away with the practice of releasing weekly food inflation data came into effect on Thursday.

Announcing the discontinuance, in an official statement, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, which releases the weekly food inflation numbers, said: “Consequent upon the decision of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs held on January 24, 2012, weekly release of Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for the commodities/items under the Groups 'Primary Articles' and 'Fuel & Power is discontinued with immediate effect”.

Monthly data

Instead, as has been the practice, the government will continue to release the monthly headline inflation data.

Apart from the inflation numbers for manufactured items, the monthly WPI data contains the break-up for all other article segments, including food, non-food and fuel. The headline or overall inflation data for January 2012 is to be released on February 14.

Hitherto, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry used to release the WPI weekly inflation data on primary food articles, fuel and power on every Thursday of each month. However, it was felt that instead of presenting a real price situation for every week gone by, the figures tended to display extreme volatility which was more of an aberration and created confusion when compared with the monthly figures.

While the release of monthly inflation data is in line with standard global practice, the base year for calculating WPI was also changed in September 2010 to 2004-05 from 1993-94.

Also, to make the WPI more representative, while some items were dropped, 241 more items were added to take the total number of items in the basket to 676 as compared to 435 earlier.

CPI-based inflation

Also, from this month onwards, the government will 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 be released on February 21.

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