Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) Current Affairs - 2020

Retail Inflation at 5-year high of 7.35% in December, 2019

According to the data released by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation on January 13, 2020, the food inflation increased to 14.12% in December 2019 as compared to 10.01% in November 2019. The CPI (consumer Price Index) rose to 7.35% as compared to 5.54% the previous month. The inflation was increase was mainly due to vegetables

Highlights

In December 2018, the food inflation was -2.65%. Vegetable inflation in urban areas touched 75% and at the country sides it was at 53%. Onion inflation doubled as compared to the previous month. It was 128% in November and it increased to 328% in December.

Analysis

The soaring crude oil prices due to the increasing tensions between Iran and US is the major reason. In the coming Budget, GoI is expected to increase its spending largely on infrastructure and cut taxes. This might stoke inflation further.

RBI

For the first time, the inflation has breached RBI’s target inflation of 4% (±2%). Predicting the situation, RBI had kept its policy interest rates on hold in its policy review of December 2019.

Implications

As inflation increases, the following can be expected

  • Increase in interest rates that will increase cost of borrowing
  • Slow-down in investment and economic growth

Standing Committee on Economic Statistics Constituted

On December 28, 2019, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation constituted standing committee on statistics. The objective of the committee is to improve data of the government. The committee will be headed by Chief Statistician Pronab Sen.

Highlights

The committee is set to meet on January 6, 2020. There are around 28 members forming the committee. The committee is being formed over the criticism of “political interference” in statistical data.

Consumer Expenditure Survey

Earlier GoI decided not to release Consumer Expenditure Survey results of 2017-18 complaining data quality issues. The MoSPI had then announced that the survey will be conducted in 2020-21 after incorporating data quality refinements.

Swachh Bharat Mission

Also with regard to the Swachh Bharat Mission, NSO reported that rural India is yet to become open defecation free. To the contrary, on October 2, 2019, GoI announced that rural India has become open defecation free.

Several such above circumstances have forced GoI to form the committee.