6.3.1 The inter-state trade between the various States of India is commonly known as Inland Trade, which involves movement of goods by five modes namely, (a) sea, (b) air, (c) rail, (d) river, and (e) road. Information on entry of goods, which add to the stock of material resources, and exit thereof, which depletes the stock of the State, forms the basis of Inland Trade Statistics. The entry and exit of goods from a State are commonly known as inward and outward movements. But the movements of goods within the boundaries of any State do not come under the purview of inland trade. Inter-State Trade Statistics provides an idea about the demand of commodities produced in a State along with flow thereof to other States. There has been a substantial growth in the Inter-State Trade but the system of data collection in this field has not developed to get the comprehensive coverage.
6.3.2 Sea-borne Inland Trade data is published by the DGCI&S in the publication entitled, Statistics of Inland & Coasting Trade Consignment of India (see Annexe 6.2). This is an annual publication and the issue for 1998-99 has been released in August 2000. The basic documents for compilation of these statistics are received from customs authorities in the form of Coastal Daily Trade Returns. Compilation of Sea-Borne Inland Trade, which is also commonly known as Coasting Trade, is done by recording the inward and outward movements of all goods classified into around 500 items between 12 maritime blocks. These maritime blocks correspond to an equal number of maritime States or Union Territories of India, which are as follows:
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands
6.3.3 In the publication both inward and outward movements of goods are shown separately for each maritime block besides a separate presentation for internal movements among the ports within a block. In the case of maritime blocks, a further sub-division into two or more trade blocks have also been made to identify the importance of the chief ports, the minor ports and the remaining ports of the State or Union Territory.
6.3.4 Air-borne Trade data is published by the DGCI&S in its annual publication, Inter-State Movements/Flows of Goods by Rail, River and Air which shows gross weight of cargo moved by air from airport to airport within the country (see Annexe 6.2). Besides this, the State-wise total movements of air cargo are also indicated. Only the quantities expressed in gross weight (kgs.) as figuring in the invoices submitted to the Indian Airlines are compiled in respect of the cargo moved. No information is furnished on the values of air cargo moved since the value figures do not find place in the invoice. Compilation of Air-borne Trade is done on an outward consignment basis, i.e. the consignment from a block airport as reported by the reporting agency along with the destination. The source of air cargo data is the Indian Airlines who collects the airway bills from the consignor or consignee and compiles airport-wise cargo movements and supplies data to the DGCI&S in the standard format on financial-year basis for publication. Commodity-wise details of the cargo moved are not furnished by the Indian Airlines to the DGCI&S. Further, the information on cargo moved by private airlines are also not made available to the DGCI&S. Amongst all the modes of transport, air transport has the advantage of taking the least time for carriage and handling high valued and perishable goods. The disadvantages are comparatively high transportation cost and unsuitability for transportation of bulk commodities. The carriage of goods in Inter-state Trade by air vis-à-vis other modes of transport is primarily governed by factors such as unit value of commodities, need or adherence to delivery schedule, perishability of the commodity, location of destination with respect to the point of origin, etc.
6.3.5 River-borne Trade data is published annually by the DGCI&S in its publication, Inter-State Movements/Flows of Goods by Rail, River and Air (see Annexe 6.2). But since the share of River-borne Trade in the total trade is very insignificant the same is not shown separately but clubbed with Rail-borne Trade data.
6.3.6 The statistics of River-borne Trade cover the river-borne consignments between the trade blocks of Eastern India consisting of Assam, Bihar and West Bengal carried by Central Inland Water Transport Corporation of India (CIWTCI) Ltd., Kolkata. The basic documents for the statistics are the invoices relating to consignments of the selected commodities dispatched from each steamer station to trade block other than the one in which it is situated. Each steamer company consolidates the figures in respect of the steamer stations with which it is concerned and submits returns to the CIWTCI Ltd. and, in turn, the CIWTC Ltd. sends the consolidated statements to the DGCI&S at the end of each month.
6.3.7 Rail-borne Trade is published by the DGCI&S in its annual publication, Inter-State Movements/Flows of Goods by Rail, River and Air (see Annexe 6.2Annexe 6.2).
6.3.8 In case of Rail-borne Trade also, only quantity figures are available from railway authorities, as railway invoices do not contain the provision for showing the value figures of the goods to be transported. This is primarily because the freight of the goods to be transported by rail is directly related to the quantum of goods to be carried and not on the value of the goods.
6.3.9 For convenience of presentation of Inland Trade Statistics by rail, India has been divided into 38-trade blocks. Each block or a select group thereof normally corresponds to a State of the Union of India. Thus, all railway stations in a particular State are included in the same trade block even if some of them may belong to different administrative zones according to the railway authorities. In the presentation of Inland Trade data in respect of commodities only important ones are given a separate identity and the rest are classified into several homogeneous groups. The DGCI&S is receiving data on inter-State movement for about 1000 commodities, which are for convenience of presentation, classified into 78 commodity groups. Besides State-wise total movements, inter block movement for each commodity or commodity group in a matrix form is also published. This matrix gives an idea about the inter-State movement of each commodity or commodity group within India. As per the existing arrangement, the basic information is entered by the zonal railways and a hard copy of the information is provided to DGCI&S on a quarterly basis. For this purpose an amount of about Rs.57 lakhs is paid at present by the DGCI&S to the Railway Board as the annual service charges. The DGCI&S, however, compiles manually the required format for presentation of these data from the computer printouts furnished by the railway authorities.
6.3.10 Railways and road transport dominate the multi-mode transportation system in the country. These two modes together account for a significant portion of the passenger and freight movement. The share of the remaining modes, namely, inland water transport, shipping, air transport, pipelines, ropeways, etc. is insignificant. Several studies conducted so far show that the share of passenger and freight between road transport and rail transport has changed, in fact reversed, in favour of the former over the period since India attained independence. Thus indicating the emergence of road transport as the prime mode of transport and the trend in favour of the road is rising undoubtedly. While the railways, air transport, shipping, etc. due to their centralised ownership and administrative set-up have a statistical system for data generation, the goods carried by road transport are characterised by a poor database. This is, because the goods road transport is mainly in the private sector, dominated by lakhs of micro-truck operators. These operators mostly do not maintain road transport operational statistics partly due to limited resources, a poor understanding of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, income-tax phobia, etc. and also do not like to part with whatever information they have.
Road Transport Statistics
6.3.11 Data on road transport can be classified into three main categories namely:
General Motor Statistics;
Passenger Transport Statistics; and
Goods Transport Statistics.
6.3.12 The General Road Transport Statistics published by the Ministry of Surface Transport, Government of India, flow from the administration of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1994 (MVA) and the State Motor Tax on Passengers and Goods Acts. These statistics are compiled from the returns submitted by the Transport Commissioners to Directors of Transport in the States/Union Territories who, in turn, send these data to the Ministry of Transport. These statistics include:
Total number of registered motor vehicles (taxed and tax-exempted), number of buses owned by private and public-sector, Government revenue from road transport (taxes and fees), newly-registered motor vehicles – year-wise;
State-wise motor vehicle taxation rates for personalised vehicles, taxis, auto rickshaws, motor vehicle taxes on goods transport and passenger transport, accident statistics based on reports of police authorities;
State Governments publish in their Statistical Abstracts – Road transport-related statistics of the number of motor vehicles of different classes and categories, motor driving licenses issued district-wise, working of the State road transport corporation, motor vehicle accidents, etc.
6.3.13 The operational statistics like the output of services, material consumption, employment, cost of operations, earnings, etc. are at present collected from public sector transport undertakings for passenger services only. In the case of goods transport by road, no statistics are available except for data from the few public sector undertakings in respect of their negligible small fleet. No data on goods transport by road is published, either by the Central Ministry of Surface Transport or State Transport Directorates. In order to fill up the data gaps for the non-agricultural sector including transport activities, the Central Statistical Organisation launched a scheme known as ‘Economic Census and Surveys’ in the year 1977. So far, four Economic Censuses have been carried out, the last one conducted during 1998. As regards, the Follow-up Enterprise Survey on transport sector, six surveys have been carried out, the last conducted during July 1999- June 2000 (55th Round of NSSO). All these Follow-up Enterprise Surveys provide only basic information on the location, employment, fixed assets, working capital and receipts and expenditure details of the enterprises. These surveys do not normally provide information on total number of vehicles, quantity and value of goods carried.
6.3.14 One of the principal shortcomings in respect of availability of inter-State goods transport data is on account of incomplete coverage of modes of transport. Apart from deficiency in coverage, another area, which needs attention, is that available data from the different modes is not comparable. Uniformity in the system of classification of commodities for presentation of Inland Trade Statistics is not followed at present. As a matter of fact, the classification followed for recording Rail and River-borne Trade is different from that followed for recording Sea-borne and Air-borne Trade. Further, the classification followed for compiling Foreign Trade data is different from Rail, River, Sea or Air-borne Trade. As such comparison of these data with External Trade is practically not possible.
6.3.15 A complete picture on the Inter-State Trade will not be available unless data on movements of all the commodities and commodity groups by all modes of transport are available. It is not possible, at present, to get such comprehensive information because of the inherent difficulties in the data collection mechanism. Presently, some important characteristics like value figures of goods carried by rail, river or air are not reported in the source documents. Further, the basic units of area like trade block, maritime block, etc. for which data are captured or presented and also the unit of quantity of goods moved by the various modes of transport are not the same.
6.3.16 At present, the available information on rail-borne trade statistics, covers only 78 major commodities and commodity groups involving around 1000 items. Thus there is a need to enlarge the coverage of commodities. The data from the railways are received quarterly and there is a time lag of about two months in furnishing such data to the DGCI&S. The basic information is entered into the computer media by the railway offices and the data are made available to DGCI&S in the form of computer printouts by nine zonal railway offices. These data are consolidated and tabulated manually for publishing in DGCI&S’s annual publication Inter-State Movements/Flows of Goods by Rail, River and Air. As River-borne Trade Statistics are available only in respect of three States namely, Assam, Bihar and West Bengal, this necessitates the enhancement of the geographical coverage. Further, both for Rail and River-borne Statistics, only quantity figures are available. No separate data for river-borne cargo is available. The information on cargo in gross weight moving by air from airport to airport and also from State to State within the country is available. However, the available information relates to the total movement of air cargo and does not give commodity-wise detail. Further, the goods moved by the private airlines are not being considered at present. The available information on movement of goods by road is also grossly inadequate.
Conclusions and Recommendations
6.3.17 In order to maintain comparability among the different modes of transport, there is a need for a common classification of commodities for presenting data on Inter-state Trade, which may also entail its comparison with that of Foreign Trade.
6.3.18 In case of Road-borne Trade no statistics are compiled on a regular basis either by DGCI&S or by any other organisation. Since the bulk of the Internal Trade is presently carried out by road, it is necessary to develop some innovative system for estimation of the volume of Road-borne Trade by utilising the existing provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. Maintenance of the logbook by the truck operators and submission of the same by them to their respective RTOs could be one of the methods. Since complete enumeration would be very expensive and time consuming, the feasibility of conducting properly-designed sample surveys to get reliable estimates on Inter State Trade by road at the State level should be explored. The system of collection of copies of invoices at check-posts of the State borders by the revenue or transport authorities may also be considered as a means to gauge the volume of Inter-State Trade by road.
6.3.19 Taking note of the inadequacies in the system, the Commission recommends that:
DGCI&S should devise a standard format for collection and presentation of data on Inter-State Trade for all modes of transport. This method of presentation should also enable its comparison with Foreign Trade data. The possibility of using National Product Commodity Codes developed by CBEC and others should be explored.
DGCI&S should be given the responsibility for coordinating and monitoring of data collection from the various agencies associated with different modes of transport.
Forms used by the different agencies in recording the basic information for the various modes of transport should be standardised.
The DGCI&S should take data from the zonal railways through electronic media instead of computer printouts in a standard format for the purposes of computer processing and inclusion in their publications.
A specially-designed Enterprise Survey should be conducted for collection of data on movement of goods by road transport. The feasibility of conducting sample surveys by the revenue or transport authorities to assess the volume of Inter-State Trade by road through copies of invoices collected at check-posts of the State borders should also be examined.
Feasibility of collecting relevant data by introducing logbook system should be explored.
The River-borne Trade data should be shown separately and should not be clubbed with Rail-borne Trade as is presently being done.
The commodity-wise details of air-cargo movement should be collected and presented as in case of other modes of transport. The movement of cargo by private airlines should also be covered.