NEW DELHI: The government has launched a mammoth enumeration exercise to collect data on all the business enterprises for the National Business Register, a move aimed at strengthening assessment of economic activity.

At present, the ministry of statistics and programme implementation conducts the Annual Survey of Industries ( ASI), which serves as the principal source of industrial statistics. The survey covers relatively bigger units relating to manufacturing and repair sub-sectors.

But no such gauge exists for other industrial sectors. The Business Register will list establishments at the district-level covering seven Acts and authorities, including the Factories Act, the Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, the Companies Act, the Societies Registration Act, the Co-operative Societies Act, the Khadi and Village Industries Board and the Directorate of Industries.

“We do a lot of surveys and need a readymade frame for these. The Business Register is based on seven Acts, which have under them licensing authorities, who maintain all registrations,” said an official privy to the development.

Just as the National Population Register seeks to record details of every citizen, the Business Register will aim to record district-wise details of establishments engaged in production or distribution of goods or services. It will comprise 33 columns that will offer details such as the name of an enterprise, its location, activities, type of ownership, number of workers, PAN/TAN, etc.

The idea is to develop an electronic database of all such information, which will give a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ campaign and also promote Khadi.

“This will further enrich the government’s industry database,” said D K Joshi, chief economist at Crisil. “But eventually, a reliable, short-term, high frequency indicator is required for policy making. More so, because the IIP is a weak indicator and analysts need to accurately capture economic trends and cycles, which have become shorter and volatile.”