The government today said the new consumer price series for rural, urban and combined (rural + urban) for January, reflecting the impact of price rise on common man, will be released on February 18.

These consumer indices will be available for five major groups - food, beverages and tobacco; fuel and light; housing; clothing, bedding and footwear; and miscellaneous.

The indices will be released for States/Union Territories and all India.

The government also releases four CPI (Consumer Price Index) inflation series - CPI for industrial workers, CPI for agricultural labourers, CPI for rural labourers and CPI for urban non-manual employees - which it will continue to do.

Besides, wholesale prices are measured by the WPI index.

The present four CPI numbers do not encompass all the segments of the population and as such they “do not reflect the true picture of the price behaviour in the country”, Chief Statistician T C A Anant said.

“It is therefore, necessary to compile a CPI which takes into account the consumption patterns of all segments of the population,” he said on the sidelines of the 15th Conference of Commonwealth Statisticians here.

The base for the new series will be January-December 2010.

CPI urban and rural is compiled at State, UT and all India level. For regular price collection for CPI (urban) 310 towns have been selected, while for the rural data, 1,181 villages spread across India have been selected.

“CSO will also compile national CPI by merging CPI (rural) and CPI (urban) with appropriate weights,” Mr. Anant said.

The government proposes to release provisional indices for a period of one year.

“These provisional numbers will be subsequently revised and final numbers with complete data for all-India and also for all the state and UTs would be released with a time lag of two months,” Mr. Anant said.

He said there may not be any need to bring out separate provisional numbers after December 2011, as the data reporting is expected to be considerably improved.

Retail inflation for items consumed by industrial workers increased to 9.47 per cent in December 2010 from 8.33 per cent in the previous month, mainly due to dearer food prices.

The wholesale price index-based inflation rose to 8.43 per cent in December from 7.48 per cent in the previous month.

WPI food inflation rose to 17.05 per cent for the week ended January 22, on account of escalating vegetable prices, particularly, onion.

The share (weights) of food, beverage and tobacco group in the new rural index would be 59.31 per cent, whereas it would be 37.15 per cent in the urban index. Similarly, fuel and light group would have a weight of 10.42 per cent (rural) and 8.4 per cent (urban).

The miscellaneous group consisting of education, medical care, transportation and communication would be having a 24.19 per cent weight in rural index and 8.28 per cent in urban index.

The new CPI numbers would be revived on the basis of the results of the next round of Consumer Expenditure Survey scheduled to be conducted during 2011-12 by the National Sample Survey Organisation.

Thereafter, revision will be taken every five years.

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