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Department of Economics and Statistics is the nodal agency for the collection and compilation of price data in the state. The collection of Price Statistics is one of the major item of work of the Department. The importance and utility of the information pertaining to the price movements affect all sectors of the economy. Both the scope and coverage of the price collection has undergone many changes and it is the duty of the department to produce qualitative data on prices.
Price Division of the department collects various types of price data at Taluk and District level. After scrutiny and compilation, they are forwarded to the Central and State Governments and to other agencies for the purposes of Policy decision, Planning, Research and to watch daily price movements. The Department is also computing various price Indices.
Market Intelligence (MI) is one of the main section of price division. Market wholesale prices are being collected under the MI Scheme. The scheme is in operation in 42 centers. The main objective of the scheme is to provide information on prices of commodities to the primary producers and consumers by regular and prompt supply of news on market data on Agricultural commodities and its trend.
The price collectors in each centre visit all the important market area and report the price data. They collect Market arrivals ie the quantities, which arrive in a market for further sales, outgoing quantities from the market, quantities left in stock with wholesale traders. Also collecting weekly wholesale prices, daily wholesale price of food grains and weekly agricultural prices.
The daily wholesale price bulletin is being furnished to All India Radio, Kozhikode, Kannur, Thiruvananthapuram, Devikulam, Kochi & Thrissur. Director of the Department exercises the administrative and technical control over MI Scheme. There are two Regional Statistical Officers in the State, Southern and Northern-zones.
Department is collecting the Farm price of 60 major agricultural commodities cultivating by the farmers of the state from 1954 onwards. Farm price include farm wholesale price & farm retail price. Farm wholesale price of 60 commodities are being collected every month from all Taluks in the State. Director of Economics and Statistics approves the monthly average farm prices of commodities after conducting proper scrutiny and the same is forwarded to District Collectors, K.S.E.B. and Power grid for the settlement of land values.
Farm retail prices are the price that farmer gets when the farm products are sold at smaller quantity. Farm retail prices of 45 items are collected monthly from all Taluks and approved Farm retail prices data are being published in Government Gazette.
Daily Prices of 50 essential commodities are collected from District head quarters and the consolidated reports are being sent to the office of Chief Minister, Food Minister, Agriculture Minister, Chief Secretary, Food Secretary, Planning Secretary & Directorate of Civil Supplies. In Addition, retail price of 20 other items are also collected weekly.The market rate of 18 notified species of forest products are being collected monthly from the important timber markets of Kollam, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Kozhikode. These reports are prepared quarterly and forwarded to the Chief Conservator of Forest, Government of Kerala. Prices prevailing in the neighboring states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh for these items are also collected annually.
Since 1968, this department is collecting the market rate of dietary articles required by hospitals jails etc. quarterly. These prices are utilized by various medical institutions for the settlement of contracts for the supply of dietary and non-dietary articles. Government declared the department as a permanent agency for the collection and compilation of prices of dietary articles.
The prices of more than 400 items of Ayurveda raw materials are also being collected by this Department once in a year from Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kannur as and when the request is made by the Ayurveda Colleges of concerned districts.
Market rate of different items of wastepaper are being collected monthly and report are being forwarded to the Controller of Stationery during April every year. Similarly price of coconut shell are collected from District head quarters, and the same is forward to prison and other data users.
Other important prices being collected by the department are that of coir and husk. These are collected weekly from taluk centres and monthly reports are being furnished to Coir Development Department. Retail prices of important spices are collected from Kottayam, Idukki, Wayanad and Thrissur and forwarded monthly to Directorate of Cocoa, Arecanut and Spices Board, Kochi. Whole and retail price of salt are also being collected weekly from Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode and monthly report send to Salt Commissioner Jaipur/Deputy Salt Commissioner Chennai. Moreover monthly details of stock as well as wholesale and retail prices of salt are also being collected from 10 District Head Quarters and the data is supplied to Director of Civil Supplies. Weekly price of cocoa is collecting from nine centers and forward to Directorate of Cashew Development Board.
Besides the price collection of the above said commodities, Department is also computing various index numbers by using the price data. Index numbers are the devices to measure the relative movements in variables. Most of the current indices are indication of changes over time in respect of economic characteristics like prices, output, wages etc. The Department is publishing wholesale price index, parity index, wage index and consumer price index numbers every month.
Wholesale price index of important agricultural commodities are forwarded to Planning and Economic Affairs Department, the Economic and Statistics Advisor Government of India, the Chief Statistician, and the Director of Agriculture.
Parity index is being sent to Economic Advisor. Wage and Wage Index to Economic and Statistics Advisor, Ministry of Food and Agriculture and CSO.The Consumer price index is sent to Ministry of Labour, The Central Labour Enforcement Officer etc to calculate DA for labours. The Consumer Price Index is being forwarded to other agencies also, in accordance with their demand.