The commerce ministry will revamp its directorate general of commercial intelligence and statistics (DGCI&S) for establishing new data management and research unit (DMRU). The DMRU will be built in New Delhi and will undergo IT and data management makeover, which will be done in two phases. The first phase includes migrating into a cloud-based server system and making data access framework. Besides, the second stage will be about changing the way data is collected and processed.
DGCI&S, for years, has been collecting data, compiling information related to India’s merchandise trade statistics and commercial information. However, it is not integrated with other departments due to various policy-related requirements, thereby causing hindrance in other departments while leveraging data. DGCI&S gathers a plethora of data that can be used across several departments to harness the power of information. Today, DGCI&S releases monthly export and import data on merchandise trade. In addition, it releases yearly data on inter-state movement of goods in Indian by rivers, rail, air, customs, excise revenue collections of the Indian union, and foreign coastal cargo movements of India.
The idea is not only to revamp DGCI&S but also to merge with other departments of commerce when it is replaced by DMRU. The research unit will adopt the capabilities of artificial intelligence to enable data-driven policymaking in the department. It is believed that DMRU will also work hand in hand with the directorate general of trade remedies (DGTR) and directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) to develop abilities in trade defence, fraud prevention as well as data-led export promotion.
According to a source, the intention behind moving the Kolkata-based DGCI&S to New Delhi is due to the fact that there were significant mismatch and inconsistency in data collection. Since DGCI&S was established pre-independence in 1871, Kolkata was the preferred location. Now on moving it to New Delhi, one can expect the institution will work to its fullest while minimising the flaws in the existing system.