CSO worried over slowing manufacturing sector

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Mumbai, Jan 17 (PTI) Chief Statistician TCA Anant todayexpressed concern over the continuing slowdown inmanufacturing activities in the economy.

"Growth is there, but it is not so strong that we wouldbe happy with. That is really the concern. Economic revivalhas not kept pace in manufacturing for sure," he toldreporters on the sidelines of a function at the Indira GandhiInstitute of Development Research here.

However, on the very low November factory productionnumbers, he said, these numbers have been intrinsicallyvolatile since the past five to sixe years as those where thehigh-paced growth phases of the economy."

On whether he sees a further fall in the December IIPnumbers, as many economists are foreseeing, he refused toanswer saying he does not want to hazard any guess.

Anant further pointed out that during the first eightmonths of this fiscal, the average IIP growth rate has notcrossed well beyond 10 per cent, which is not a rosy picture.

Against this, manufacturing was much robust during the sameperiod last fiscal, he pointed.

On inflation, he said, "there has been a softening inmost elements of WPI, barring food, which is the real problemarea. Certain vegetables and some horticultural items aredriving up food inflation and this is a real problem."

On whether the current high rate of inflation is will bea threat to growth, he said it has not reached that level.

"The current episode of price rise not a worry, but at thesame time it has to be noted that the frequency of suchepisodes are increasing," he said. .

Anant also said the CSO will come out with two more series on monthly consumer price inflation from the next monthto reflect the impact of price rise on consumption pattern ofhouseholds in urban and rural areas.

"The CSO will be releasing CPI -urban and rural- indicesfor January onwards. The first data would be released sometimein February. We would soon issue a statement on methodologies,among others, for calculating the indices," he said, addinghowever that but for these new indices to make any sense, itwill take at least a year.

Currently, there are four CPI inflation series - CPI forindustrial workers, CPI for agricultural labourers, CPI forrural labourers and CPI for urban non-manual employees.

Besides four CPI series, the wholesale prices are measured byWPI index.

The new indices assume importance since the currentinflation rate is a concern for both the government and RBI.

These two new series--CPI urban and CPI rural--will be basedon consumption pattern revealed in the National Sample Surveyfor urban and rural consumers.

This basket of commodities will be based on the patternof consumption revealed in the National Sample Survey forurban and rural consumers, and the base year of computation ofthe new CPI series will be 2004-05.

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