Ashoka University’s CEDA develops first-of-its-kind Daily Food Price Index (DFPI) to track food inflation in India

New Delhi : Centre for Economic Data & Analysis (CEDA) at Ashoka University has developed a new Daily Food Price Index (DFPI) to track inflation in retail and wholesale food markets. It is a first-of-its-kind index in India that reports on food inflation on a real-time basis. The existing Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Wholesale Price Index (WPI) are released on a monthly and yearly basis.

“The recent surge in food prices due to factors like the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing conflict in Ukraine reflect the rapidity with which situations that affect the economy can develop. In this context, having access to more real-time data can facilitate timely market interventions and decisions related to price regulation,” said Dr Ashwini Deshpande, Director, CEDA.

“A delay in publication of data, and subsequent delay in policymaking, often carries a cost. Thus, the DFPI developed by CEDA would be a great public resource for policymakers, researchers and journalists,” she added.

CEDA’s Daily Food Prices Tool is a tracker that allows users to track inflation in real time at a granular level, as it has retail and wholesale commodity prices of 22 essential commodities for 179 centres across India.

With CEDA’s Daily Food Prices Tool, users can track changes at daily/7-day moving average/monthly levels, for individual commodities (e.g. mustard oil, atta or masoor dal, among others) or commodity groups (edible oils, grains or pulses etc). Users can choose multiple commodities or multiple zones or centres within zones and create quick visualisations, as well as download the data. See the tool here.

Based on this data, CEDA has created the DFPI which is available in two modes: daily and monthly. It allows tracking the index for separate food items such as grains, pulses, edible oil or vegetables through easy, query-based visualisations. Users can also download the underlying raw data at the commodity-centre-zone level.

The DFPI utilises data collated by the Price Monitoring Cell – a division under the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India – on daily retail and wholesale prices of 22 commodities from 179 centres spread across India. Research shows that it has strong positive correlation with CPI-food (0.975) and WPI- food (0.98), therefore it has the capacity to provide accurate as well as valuable insights, can act as a good measure to track daily food price trends in the country.

The DFPI can be accessed here after registration.