Wholesale Price Index (WPI) - Indian Economy Notes

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is an important index necessary for calculating inflation in a country. The Office of the Economic Adviser in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry is responsible for compiling WPI and releasing it.

In this article, you can understand about Wholesale Price Index and how it is important for the IAS Exam.

This topic is useful for Indian Economy (GS Paper III) segment of the UPSC Syllabus.

The rate of inflation based on WPI Food Index increased from 5.28% in March, 2021 to 7.58% in April, 2021. Final Index for the month of February, 2021-For the month of February, 2021 the final Wholesale Price Index and inflation rate for ‘All Commodities’ (Base: 2011-12=100) stood at 128.1 and 4.83% respectively.

Aspirants preparing for the upcoming UPSC exam can go through the following links to prepare for economics better-

Wholesale Price Index (WPI)

The Wholesale Price Index represents the price of a basket of wholesale goods. WPI focuses on the price of goods that are traded between corporations. It does not concentrate on goods purchased by the consumers.

  • The main objective of WPI is monitoring price drifts that reflect demand and supply in manufacturing, construction and industry.
  • WPI helps in assessing the macroeconomic as well as microeconomic conditions of an economy.

Importance of WPI

  • In a dynamic world, prices do not remain constant.
  • The inflation rate calculated on the basis of the movement of the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is an important measure to monitor the dynamic movement of prices.
  • As WPI captures price movements in a most comprehensive way, it is widely used by Government, banks, industry and business circles.
  • Significant monetary and fiscal policy changes are often linked to WPI movements.
  • Similarly, the movement of WPI serves as an influential determinant, in the formulation of trade, fiscal and other economic policies by the Government of India.
  • The WPI indices are also used for the purpose of escalation clauses in the supply of raw materials, machinery and construction work.
  • WPI is used as a deflator of various nominal macroeconomic variables, including Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
For more articles about the Indian economy or about Economics in general, be sure the visit the UPSC Notes on Indian Economy page now!

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Wholesale Price Index (WPI) in India

Generally, WPI and CPI (Consumer Price Index) are used to calculate the inflation rates. In India, Inflation rates are based on WPI which is released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The CPI is a measure that assesses the weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food, and medical care, purchased by households.

India experienced its highest inflation rate of 34.68 per cent in September of 1974. And the lowest rate touched -11.31 per cent in May 1976.

Difference between WPI and CPI

The below table illustrates the differences between Wholesale Price Index and Consumer Price Index:

Context WPI CPI
Definition Amounts to the average change in prices of commodities at the wholesale level. Indicates the average change in the prices of commodities at the retail level.
Publishing office Office of Economic Advisor (Ministry of Commerce & Industry) Central Statistics Office (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation) & Labour Bureau
Commodities Goods only Goods and Services both
Inflation Measurement  First stage of a transaction Final stage of a transaction
Prices paid by Manufacturers and wholesalers Consumers
Types of Commodities covered Manufacturing inputs and intermediate goods like minerals, machinery basic metals, etc. Education, communication,  transportation, recreation, apparel, foods and beverages, housing and medical care
Base Year 2011-12 2012

Note: Base Year to be revised.

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