COMMERCIAL INTELLIGENCE &
The Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence & Statistics (DGCI&S) is the nodal agency of the Government of India responsible for collection, compilation and dissemination of Trade Statistics and various types of Commercial Information. Over the years, DGCI&S has been making utmost effort to release the Trade Data in time and to create reliable and detailed data-base to facilitate the formulation, implementation and modification of India's Trade Policy and Planning in the field of Export Promotion and efficient Import Management. DGCI&S made a significant progress in releasing the provisional Foreign Trade Data of aggregate Exports and Imports and also major Commodity/Country and Portwise data. Presently, the Press Release and Quick Estimates of Principal Commodities for Exports and Imports are prepared within 25 days from the close of the reference month. These are very useful for making overall assessment of India's Foreign Trade in advance by the Government and to study the impact of various trade policies. A Brochure titled as "Foreign Trade Statistics of India (Principal Commodities & Countries)" containing provisional data is released thereafter. The detailed statistics at 8-digit level of ITC(HS) are being published with much reduced time-lag than in the past with the continuous efforts to make it more timely.
As part of its regular activities, DGCI&S collects, preserves, analyses and disseminates various types of commercial information required by importers, exporters, traders as well as overseas buyers. Directory of Indian Exporters published by DGCI&S is a valuable document for the foreign buyers. The Indian Trade Journal, a weekly publication brought by DGCI&S, is a repository of material of commercial interest as well as a major channel for flow of information on tenders at the National and International level. DGCI&S also helps in the settlement of Commercial Disputes and maintains a Commercial Library, which serves a vast clientele. The Directorate brings out a number of other publications mainly on Inland and Coastal Trade Statistics, Revenue Statistics, Shipping and Air-cargo Statistics etc., which are utilized by the government departments as well as by the trading communities and researchers. A list of the important publications issued by DGCI&S is given in Appendix-IX.
The Daily Trade Returns (DTRs), which form the source document for generation of Foreign Trade Data, are received from major customs houses through SCPC VSAT and 512 kbps leased line in Electronic Data Interface(EDI) & Non EDI form. The data from minor ports are received through Email/Floppies. A monitoring-cum-feed back system has been in operation in order to improve the quality and coverage of such data received from custom houses. The data relating to major customs houses received through VSAT /Leased line together with those received through Email/floppies cover about 80 to 85% of India's total Foreign trade. The rest of the data are received in the form of Manual DTRs, which come from places such as Land Customs Stations, Inland Container Depot ( ICDs), Export Processing Zone(EPZ) and medium & minor sea and airport custom units.
Data processing system of DGCI&S is presently built on ORACLE database in SUN ULTRA E-450 system. The computer system of the Directorate is having networking facilities. A dedicated SCPC VSAT installed in this Directorate is being used to receive the DTR data on line from computerised Customs houses. Parallel to this SCPC VSAT, a dedicated 512 kbps leased line is also installed to facilitate the uninterrupted receipt of DTR's. An Exchange Server is also installed for providing Internet/E-mail facilities to the various computers in the local network. Presently data is coming through VSAT/Leased line from 21 major ports. Other computerized ports are sending DTR data in floppies/E-mail. The DTRs are then passed through a series of coverage checking and cleaning operations at the EDP unit of DGCI&S in ORACLE based platform. By switching over from FTS processing to ORACLE based platform, the task of identification, retrieval and corrections of errors in DTRs has become quicker at DGCI&S. Foreign Trade processing has been fully computerized and part of the editing is made online using client server architecture of ORACLE RDBMS. All the staff of the Directorate are trained in PC-based operations. The WEB site of the directorate has been developed and is under testing stage. The site will be launched very shortly. The website is having two parts namely static pages and dynamic pages. The Static pages of website mainly consists of history of DGCI&S and its various activities in brief. These pages contains summary data on principal commodities, chapter, section, economic region and country wise final foreign trade data also which will be updated regularly. The site is also having revised Custom Tariff Code Classification implemented in DGCI&S w.e.f. April 2003 with section and chapter wise navigation facility. This part has free access to all users. The Dynamic pages of Website are mainly for on line data dissemination and having the provision of using it both free and on payment basis. The Website also contain Exporter and Importer directory in a user-friendly manner. Once the WEB site of DGCI&S becomes operational, it will meet a long felt need of the users and benefit them immensely by way of providing online data dissemination facilities. Upto March 2003 issues, the foreign trade publication were released in printed form. However, from April 2003 issue onwards, data are being released in electronic media i.e. CDs.
The Foreign Trade Data as generated by DGCI&S are disseminated mainly through (1) Monthly Press Release, (2) Foreign Trade Statistics of India (Principal Commodities and Countries), (3) Monthly Statistics of Foreign Trade of India, (4) Statistics of Foreign Trade of India by Countries and (5) Magnetic/hard copy media.
In the first stage, a Monthly Press Note containing India's aggregate data on Exports and Imports is compiled along with quick estimates for exports and imports within 25 days from the close of a particular reference month. This is followed by a monthly Brochure titled "Foreign Trade Statistics of India (Principal Commodities and Countries)" in order to meet the immediate requirements of the Ministry and other Government organizations, Commodity Boards, EPCs, Research Organisations etc. involved in the review of Trade policies, formulation of Export and Import policies, negotiating Trade Agreements, monitoring of India's External Trade etc. This Brochure inter-alia provides provisional Foreign Trade Information under the following heads:
The Brochure data in floppy media along with a Computer software package for accessibility is being sent to different Indian Embassies abroad.
In the final stage, the detailed data on India's Foreign Trade are released to the public through the publication entitled "Monthly Statistics of Foreign Trade of India" containing Commodity by Country details and "Statistics of Foreign Trade of India" containing Country by Commodity details. The data in these publications are reported at the 8-digit level codes of the Indian Trade Classification (Harmonized System). The country by commodity wise data are brought out for quarter ending months only. In all publications of DGCI&S on foreign trade, data are furnished for current month as well as for the cumulative period i.e. April to current month. In addition, final figures for the corresponding month and cumulative period of the preceding year are also shown in the Brochure.
PRICED INFORMATION SERVICE SYSTEM
Presently, DGCI&S disseminate the information on Foreign Trade at various levels. The Government Departments, Ministries, other Research Organizations, Indian Embassies abroad and International Organizations are provided data according to their specific requirements, free of charge. Some of these Organizations are served through the exchange agreement on regular basis.
Provisional information as well as final statistics are also supplied to these category of users according to their need. Data are also disseminated among the private parties, EPCs, Commodity Boards, Foreign Embassies, etc. on payment basis under a Special Scheme called "Priced Information Service System ". Under this scheme, the users are to pay Rs.1/= per unit record of Information. Under this system, the users are not supplied the whole basket of 8-digit Commodity-Country Data for any particular period for reasons of `Copy Right' provision of DGCI&S. It is worth mentioning in this connection that under this system, DGCI&S has earned Rs.1815409/- and US $104.82 in 2003 (January to December). DGCI&S has signed a MOU with Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) for an efficient Trade Intelligence Service under which DGCI&S is to provide aggregate and detailed data to CMIE under an agreed contract.
Apart from the above modes of Data Dissemination/System, DGCI&S is making available Quick Estimates on (a) aggregate data of Exports and Imports and (b) Principal Commodities with a view to assessing the performance of India's Foreign Trade scenario in advance by the Government and to study the impact of various Trade Policies. This, in turn, helps the Government initiate suitable corrective measures in attaining the required objectives in the sphere of India's External Trade.
INDEX NUMBERS OF FOREIGN TRADE OF INDIA
The Indices of Unit Value and Quantum of Foreign Trade of India as well as the `terms of trade' are compiled on regular basis by DGCI&S and the indices with base year 1978-79, have been worked out till March, 1998. On account of the changes effected in the Indian Trade Classification since April, 1987, old commodity baskets have been recast to suit the new Classification System for computation of Index Number series besides maintaining temporal comparability. It is felt that the base year 1978-79 is too old to serve its purpose and therefore a decision has been taken to change the base period from 1978-79 to 1998-99. It was also decided that besides bringing out global monthly index numbers, country-wise Index Number have also to be issued for selected countries. The commodity baskets for global and country-wise Index Numbers separately for Export and Import have been prepared. The work relating to compilation of Index Numbers with base year 1998-99 is in progress.
The Commercial Intelligence Branches are equipped with the whole gamut of trade information, ranging from foreign exporters' and importers' addresses to the scope of trade in various commodities, from information relating to India's trade relations with its major partners to current international trade environment. The information is gleaned from sources as varied as inputs received from Indian embassies and High commissions and materials culled from websites of National and International Organizations. Thus armed, the Branches assist and encourage the entrepreneurs in their trade endeavors. It is beyond debate that the main hurdle faced by Indian exporters is in the field of marketing. Many manufacturer-exporters producing quality goods fail to make profits because they do not have necessary information regarding overseas buyers. It is here that the Commercial Intelligence Branches of DGCI&S step in and bridge the information gap by providing names and addresses of foreign importers to the Indian exporters who lack the wherewithal to overseas market intelligence on their own.
The up-to-date data on overseas importers are, at present, being stored in MS Access databases. The databases are constantly updated by sending special queries in respect of selected items and countries as per the requirements of Indian exporters.
Country-wise and commodity-wise trade information, indicating existing and potential markets for different items in countries of the world over is provided to the best of the Branches' ability. This helps the potential Indian exporters to identify their target overseas markets and also to choose the most suitable exportable items.
The Commercial Intelligence Branches do not only confine themselves to answering written queries but desk information is also provided regularly to visitors on various aspects related to trade Intelligence. This saves time and the informal interaction helps in building exporters' and importers' confidence. Moreover, Country Profiles are being prepared, which deals in general information of the countries, present economic indicators in brief and analyse their trade performance with specific reference to trade with India. The country Profiles are being published in the newly launched journal called `VAANIJYA'. These Profiles offer the reader a clear idea of the economic conditions of the countries reviewed, the trends shown by their recent trade data, with an accent on India's trade with the countries. The discerning readers will be able to make reasonable conjectures on future trade performance of these countries.
In addition, a monthly Review of Foreign Trade is compiled, showing imports and exports of major commodities, volume of trade with major trading partners and through major ports.
The Branches also contribute a fortnightly news item relating to international trade environment to the Indian Trade Journal to keep the trading community abreast of the current developments in the field of foreign trade.
Achievements during October 2002 to March 2003.
Besides preparation of Monthly Review of Foreign Trade and Country profiles, during the above period, 211 trade inquiries were received and replied . In addition, desk information was provided to 78 visitors. During the same period, 1760 foreign importers' particulars were entered into the MS-Access database. During the period the Commercial Intelligence branches contributed country profiles of France and Japan to "VAANIJYA" and the work on some more country profiles was initiated.
International Trade News is a fortnightly contribution made by the Branches to the Indian Trade Journal. Thirteen news items culled by the Commercial Intelligence Branches have been published in the Indian Trade Journal during the period.
Achievements during April 2003 to September 2003
Besides preparation of Monthly Review of Foreign Trade and Country profiles, during April 2003 to September 2003, 251 trade inquiries (both Indian & Foreign) were received and replied. In addition, desk information was provided to 80 visitors.
During the same period, 2000 foreign importers' particulars were entered into the MS Access database.
During this period the Commercial Intelligence branches contributed two important country profiles to `VAANIJYA'. The work on some more country profiles were initiated during the period and on completion, the same will be published in the subsequent issues of `VAANIJYA'.
Thirteen inter-nation trade news items culled by the Commercial Intelligence Branches, have been published in the Indian Trade Journal during the period.
INDIAN TRADE JOURNAL
In order to keep the Indian trading community informed about the latest business opportunities in India and abroad, the D.G.C.I. & S. has been publishing the Indian Trade Journal (ITJ), a weekly publication, since April 1906.
The primary roles of the publication are in (i) publishing tender notices including Foreign tenders and (ii) facilitating exports efforts of Indian exporters by disseminating various related information to them.
For export promotion, the I.T.J. incorporates news capsules on policies, both Indian and Foreign, affecting India's foreign trade. As a part of the export promotion activities, the Indian Trade Journal publishes various regular sections every week. The `Focus on International Trade' is one such section that gives us a brief overview of a country's economic and political scenario, especially from the point of view of the Indian trading community. In another section entitled `From Our Embassies Abroad', important information (regarding market trends of various commodities traded internationally, policy changes announced in foreign countries, economic and financial conditions in foreign countries etc.) received from Indian Embassies/ High Commissions abroad are published in the backdrop of the information needs of the Indian exporters and importers. The `Commodity Exim Update', another section of the Indian Trade Journal, gives a brief analysis of the statistics related to Indian imports and exports of various commodities. In addition to these, the Indian Trade Journal publishes a fortnightly section titled "Issues in International Trading Environment"
in which current important developments with bearing on international trade regime are published for the benefit of the Indian trading community and general public. Except for these weekly sections, some sections/items are published occasionally. Notifications regarding initiation of anti-dumping investigations concerning various commodities are also published in the I.T.J. Besides these, sometimes, warnings issued by the DGFT in the interest of Indian exporters and importers are published in this Journal. Information regarding International Fairs and Exhibitions, Economic and Commercial information on various countries, etc. also are published in the I.T.J. There is another section that is published once in a month Viz. `Foreign Trade Review' that gives an analysis of the latest export-import trends of India. This section depicts the commodity-wise and port-wise break-up of major exported and imported commodities. Moreover, once in a month, the I.T.J. publishes the Press Note on Foreign Trade Statistics (Monthly) brought out by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics. The information published in the I.T.J. is much sought after by the Chambers of Commerce, Government Bodies, Traders and Exporters.
Furthermore, the DGCI&S is striving hard to make the I.T.J. more and more informative so that this journal can cater to various information needs of the general public and the trading community.
DIRECTORY OF INDIAN EXPORTERS
DGCI&S has a time-honoured system of registration of Indian firms exporting, or intending to export, products and services for the purpose of their trade introduction to foreign importers/ potential importers all over the world. The registration of a firm comes as the culmination point of an elaborate process of verification of the credibility of the firms from various angles financial and exports experience if and only if the firm in question meets certain criteria. This aspect of examining the credibility of firms is stressed because of the fact that their names are forwarded to prospective foreign importers as well as to various Ministries/ Departments/ Organizations of the Government of India and Indian Embassies/ High Commissions abroad as and when required and, at the same time, are published in the Directory of Indian Exporters brought out by this Directorate.
This Directorate had embarked upon this service to the nation long back in 1919. 25 editions of this Directory have already been brought out till date. The 25th edition (i.e. the latest) has been published in June, 2003.
This Directory has an important role in boosting trade between India and the rest of the world and, in the post-liberalization scenario, this role has got accentuated even more. This is so because the quality and extent of information provided in this Directory have the potentiality of facilitating trade, especially so when there is a worldwide awareness on the value of free flow of information in economic activities and in trade between and amongst countries. In fact, this Directory provides an excellent opportunity for publicity and advertisement of good exporting firms throughout the world and this is how the D.G.C.I. & S. is contributing its might to the efforts of the Government of India to boost up exports earnings.
The 25th edition of the Directory of Indian Exporters includes many additional features as compared to the previous editions. In fact, in addition to firm profiles of registered firms (containing names, addresses with telephone, fax numbers and e-mail addresses, names of contact persons, IECs allotted by the DGFT and the nature of firms as well as the types of activity etc.), this Directory includes the details of exports and exportable that have been classified as per the ITC (HS), at 6-digit levels wherever feasible and, otherwise, in 4- and 2-digit (chapter) levels. Names as well as other details and export/ product profiles of as many as 3,369 registered firms have been included in this edition. The work of 26th Edition of the Directory has been started with the target to include at least 5000 names of Indian exporters in the Directory.
Achievement during April, 2003 to November, 2003:
The 25th Edition of the Directory of Indian Exporters was published in June 2003. The process of preparing the database of 26th edition is under progress through a modified and upgraded version of computer design used in the 25th Edition.
Further, the static pages for the Directory of Indian Exporters (25th Edition) for the website were prepared. The questionnaire form has also undergone some changes and this will be posted on the DGCI&S website for the benefit of public. Work on online distribution of data contained in the Directory of Indian Exporters, 25th edition has also been done. In fact, care has been taken to ensure that subscribers get value for their money. Plans are afoot to bring out the Directory on CD-ROM also. Necessary work pertaining to the database has been done.
DIRECTORY OF INDIAN IMPORTERS
In the post-liberalization scenario, when ensuring a free flow of information is an essential prerequisite for facilitating our trade with the outside world as well as within the country, a Directory of Indian Importers was perceived as a long-felt need. Such a directory would act as an important link in the chain of trade information. It would help the producers of import-substituting commodities to find out their markets within the country. Moreover, circulation of the Directory abroad may help regular importers in importing at more competitive prices. To include the name of Indian importer firms in the Directory of Indian Importers, DGCI&S issues an especially designed questionnaire to a large number of Indian importing firms for enlistment in our Trade Directories. Their credentials are verified and if it is found to be satisfactory the firms are included in the said Directory. The service is provided free of cost.
The first edition of the Directory brought out in September 2002 contained particulars of 1506 Indian importing firms and some 6500 principal commodity imports made by them. The information available in the directory has been arranged in a very user-friendly manner. Printed copies of the Directories have been distributed to the Indian Diplomatic Missions abroad and also to the official users of the information in India. The directory with also be accessible in the official website of DGCI&S. At present the work for the 2nd Edition of the Directory is in progress.
The Trade Dispute Reconciliation Section of DGCI&S, Kolkata receives complaints on disputes relating to Foreign Trade for resolution. Generally, the disputes are referred to the DGCI&S, Kolkata office by the Indian Diplomatic Mission abroad, the officers of Reserve Bank of India, Export Promotion Councils, Chambers of Commerce, and other organizations representing the Government and non-Government sectors. During the financial year 2002-2003, a total number of 16 cases, including fresh and old, were examined and decided in DGCI&S, Kolkata office. Besides this, during the same period, three cases of disputes were referred and transferred to other statutory organization for final decision.
During the current financial year 2003-2004 ( April- September, 2003), four fresh cases were received in DGCI&S, Kolkata, for resolution. During this six-month period, two fresh cases were referred to other statutory organization for final decision. No cases have been closed during this period.
NATIONAL EXPORT AWARDS
Under a scheme of the Government of India, National Awards for outstanding export performance are distributed every year. Consolidated information for 35th set of Export Awards for the year 2001-2002 has been sent to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for finalization of the names of Award Winners on the basis of their outstanding export performance.
ANCILLARY TRADE STATISTICS
The DGCI&S also compiles and publishes on regular basis the Inland Trade Statistics inter alia Inter-State Movements of Goods by Rail, River and Air, Statistics on India's Customs and Excise Revenue Collections according to the tariff heads, Shipping Statistics, Coastal Trade Statistics and Selected Statistics of Foreign Trade of India. It also brings out an Assessment Report on India's Foreign Trade by Air, every year.
Inter-State Movements/Flow of Goods by Rail, River and Air: ( 2001-2002 )
This is an annual publication containing data on quantity figures of 78 selected commodities/commodity groups moving by inland rail and river amongst 38 different trade blocks. Each of the States (provinces) of India is basically treated as individual trade block whereas with a view to trace the foreign imports to their places of consumption and exports from their places of production some of the important sea port towns are segregated from the maritime
states and identified as additional and independent trade blocks resulting in a total of 38 trade blocks. The primary sources of the statistics are the returns received from the different Railway Zones, Central Inland Water Transport Corporation (CIWTC), Kolkata and Indian Airlines at present. The combined Rail and River-borne trade data is represented in two different forms. The first is a 38 X 38-matrix representation of individual commodity-wise quantity in prescribed unit (in quintal) moved/flown between the trade blocks. The second is the presentation of state-wise inward and outward consignments of 78 selected commodities/commodity groups moved/ flown. This publication also contains cargo in gross weight carried by Air from Airport to Airport and also State to State within the country through Indian Airlines only.
The Commercial Library, attached to the office of the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, Kolkata established in 1916, as a Departmental Library, started offering services free of cost to general public from 1919. A vast number of readers comprising Traders, Manufacturers, Businessmen, Industrialists, Technologists, Government officials, Lawyers, Students, Teachers and Research Workers, etc. visit the library to gather their required information. The Library offers personalized across-thetable-reference service to its readers. The total stock of the Library is being enlarged every year by acquisition of books and journals, important newspapers and also through gifts and exchanges with DGCI&S publications.
Special collection of the Library includes documents published by the United Nations, UNCTAD/GATT/International Trade and other Statistical publications of different Foreign Government Organizations, Foreign Chambers of Commerce, Foreign Banks, etc.