ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India's Trade Database:A Comment

SS Roy deserves congratulations for his article on ‘India’s Trade Database’ (EPW, January 6, 2001). The various dimensions of this aspect are discussed at length critically there. In this note, we seek to pursue it, with special reference to the problem of weight allocation while constructing index number. We had earlier undertaken an exercise of constructing a quantity index, which in literature is also termed as volume index, for India’s imports, for the period 1960-61 to 1970-71. An article containing the results of it was published, titled ‘Trends in India’s Imports’ in EPW issue dated May 9, 1981. Against this backdrop, the following is an attempt to clarify the concept of index number. It appears to be simple but perhaps is not so when examined little closely.

India's Trade Database

India's trade database suffers from lack of consistency due to reasons ranging from sample bias to coverage of data. To this extent, the empirical estimates are unreliable. This article focuses on the various dimensions of India's trade database and suggests that, apart from adjustments in coverage and survey designs, which could make the trade database more comprehensive, harmonisation of data across production, trade, and prices, would make the database compatible with the emerging economic system.

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