The Commerce Ministry is in the process of restructuring its Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S) for creating a new Data Management and Research Unit (DMRU), sources said.

The Kolkata-based DGCI&S is an organisation for collection, compilation and dissemination of India's merchandise trade statistics and commercial information. Sources said that to bridge issues of data management and analysis being out of sync with policy related requirements, a complete integration is necessary.

The DGCI&S compiles and releases monthly export & import data on merchandise trade. It also compiles and releases yearly data on inter-state movement of goods in India by river, rail & air and customs & excise revenue collections of the Indian union, inland coasting trade consignments of India and foreign coastal cargo movements of India.

Private users can obtain data from DGCI&S through its web based system and on payment basis.

The entire organization of DMRU will be placed in New Delhi, and there will be a comprehensive revamp of IT system and data management. As per the plan there will be two stages of implementation, they added.

While the first stage will address data access for official use and migration into a cloud-based server system, the second stage will be a comprehensive revamp of data collection and processing.

The implementation of commercial intelligence operations will be moved to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

"As per the plan, DGCI&S will be merged with the department of commerce and it will be replaced by DMRU," sources added.

Further, DMRU will build capabilities in big data analysis, deployment of artificial intelligence and it will be responsible to bring data driven policy making in the department.

It will also work closely with DGTR (Directorate General of Trade Remedies) and DGFT to build capabilities in trade defense, fraud prevention as well as data led export promotion.

The new unit will integrate with trade commissioners at various Indian embassies and territorial divisions with a view to systematically and regularly collect inputs regarding commercial opportunities abroad and create a portal based access restricted to Indian business persons.

Besides, it will collect trade and commercial intelligence about non-tariff barriers faced by Indian imports, information about government subsidies, intelligence about dumping and circumvention and disseminate the same to relevant wings of the department of commerce and line ministries based on the need.

"DMRU will be responsible to set up data exchange mechanisms with other departments and ministries for trade related data. It shall build data repositories by setting up exchanges with GSTN as well as line ministries responsible for administration of different industrial sectors," sources said.

It will also be responsible to set up data exchange mechanisms with partner countries and international organisations. There will be a total of 17 Group A officers in the new unit.

On the need for the new unit, sources added that considerable mismatches have been detected in DGCI&S data. It was also not capturing data related to trans-shipments, last known country of destination and other vital data for policy making.

The institution originated in pre-independent India in 1871 and is located in Kolkata.

~ With Inputs from PTI

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