Thursday, July 09, 2015

Data miracle?: Rural Gujarat "improves" its position in govt's "fresh" survey results

By Our Representative
A new set of data of the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 has contradicted the income data released by it previously. They surprisingly go to suggest that Gujarat’s rural story may not as grim as it seemed. While the earlier data still remain on the SECC site (click HERE), showing that just about 5.19 per cent of households have highest earning members earning more than Rs 10,000, the fresh data revises this percentage to 9.57 per cent (click HERE).
It is not known as to why, even after releasing the new set of data, till Thursday afternoon, the earlier data, which seemed flawed, have still not been removed from the SECC site.
There is no official explanation why two set of data remain on the SECC site, even though it was clear to any cursory observer that the previous data did not seem reliable and the figures did not match. In fact, if the previous data were to be believed, Gujarat farmers’ incomes were one of the worst in India, which is not the case with the new set of data. It has shifted to become a little above average performer.
The new set of data on the SECC site may have drastically upgraded the percentage of the top-earners of the rural Gujarat households vis-à-vis other states (click HERE for Counterview story based on earlier data). Yet, the fact remains that with the revised data there are eight out of 21 major states with households having highest earning members earning more than Rs 10,000.
Thus, the “revised” set of data put up on SECC site show that Himachal Pradesh has 24.36 per cent such households, followed by Jammu & Kashmir (18.03), Punjab (17.5 per cent), Haryana (16.28 per cent), Uttarakhand (14.72 per cent), Kerala (12.35 per cent), Maharashtra (11.05 per cent), and Rajasthan (9.61 per cent).
Then, the fresh data show that there are 21.76 per cent rural households in Gujarat whose highest earning member earns between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000. This is lower than six other states (Punjab 24.89 per cent, Haryana 24.68 per cent, Karnataka 22.27 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 22.15 per cent, Bihar 22.14 per cent), and Uttarakhand (21.86 per cent).
The all-India average here is 17.18 per cent. The previous figure for Gujarat was 11.5 per cent – suggesting here again, with the “revised” data, Gujarat has “improved” its position.
However, there is little to cheer in the lowest income group, of less than Rs 5,000. The revised data suggest that Gujarat’s position has gone down somewhat. Ironically, if the earlier data had suggested that Gujarat had just 45 per cent of rural Gujarat’s households, whose top earning members earned less than Rs 5,000, in the new set of data revise this to 68.56 per cent! 
Under the earlier data there were only two states, Telangana (40.02 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (29.26 per cent), who ranked better than Gujarat (45 per cent). But now there are five other such states – Himachal Pradesh (53.48 per cent), Punjab (57.56 per cent), Haryana (58.96 per cent), Uttarakhand (63.41 per cent), and Jammu & Kashmir (67.45 per cent), followed by Gujarat with 68.56 such households.
Screenshot SECC website showing the data released previously

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