One of the major shortcomings of economy management is the speed and method employed in data collection by various agencies of the government. Today, the IIP number for September were announced, which showed a growth of 5.1% in the core sectors in September!. my only objection is that with the turmoil in October and the pace of disintegration of financial markets and financial institutions, do these number carry any weight? don't we have a mechanism to find out ground realities on "Ground Zero" on a real time basis?
For example steel prices declined by 30% in the month of October (This information is from the market and not from a government source and we are on 8th of November) if this information is available to an individual like me in a remote town in India, why is it not available to Government data collectors?
Iron ore prices have crashed starting from September through October and it is common knowledge in mining areas that iron ore miners, transporters and traders are in dire straits, does this information reach the government or it will reach when one of the transporters, traders commits suicide or one big timer goes bankrupt?
Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland have cut production of commercial vehicles as thousands of HCVs are lined up in the second hand market. A result of ore transporters losing business completely. Does this reflect in the statistics of the Government now or will it reflect only in December 2008 or January 2009. Would it be any useful to the policy makers or the public to know this after most of the single truck owners have defaulted on their loan payments and their trucks confiscated?
There is an immediate need to tone up the information gathering process and make it real time. In this era of IT and e-governance this is the least our government can do, more so, when we proclaim to be the World leaders in Information Technology.