Skip to main content

'First time' since 1970s poverty up 10%, consumer spending down 4%: GoI survey

By Our Representative
In what may prove to be a major embarrassment for the Government of India (GoI), a new official survey, carried out in 207-18, has reportedly said that average consumer spending in India fell by more than 4% the previous six years "primarily driven by slackening rural demand." The survey, "Key Indicators: Household Consumer Expenditure in India”, carried out by the National Statistical Office (NSO), says that money spent per person in a month fell by 3.7% from Rs 1,501 in 2011-12 to Rs 1,446 in 2017-18.
The exclusive report, based on the survey in "Business Standard", says, the figures for monthly per-capital consumer expenditure (MPCE) are in real terms, meaning these have been adjusted for inflation, keeping 2009-10 as the base year. In 2011-12, it adds, by sharp contrast, the real MPCE rose by 13% over a period of two years.
The GoI has refused to make the survey public, the report states. Someshwar Jha, author of the report, tweets, "The data, which was approved for release by a committee in June 2019, has been withheld by the government thereby meeting the same fate as the periodic labour force survey which had shown a 45-year high unemployment rate of 6.1% in 2017-18."
Jha says, "In villages, consumer spending declined by 8.8% over six years", pointing out that in rural areas, the MPCE for 2009-10 was Rs 1,054, which rose to Rs 1,217 in 2011-12, or by 15.5%, but thereafter fell to Rs 1,110 by whopping 8.8%. In the urban areas, the survey finds, while the MPCE in 2009-10 was Rs 1,984, which went up by 11.5% to reach Rs 2,212 in 2011-12, but the rise slowed down drastically by 2017-18 to a moderate 2% to Rs 2,256.
According to Jha, who has quoted sources who are in the know, "The survey was conducted by the NSO between July 2017 and June 2018. The report, which was approved for release by a committee on June 19, 2019, has been withheld by the NOS due to its 'adverse' findings."The survey results, shockingly, show that food consumption particularly declined very sharply, both in rural and urban areas. 
Thus, cereals and cereal substitutes declined by 20.4% in rural areas, and by 7.9% in urban areas; sugar, salt and spices experienced a decline of 16.6% in rural areas and 14.2% in urban areas; intake of pulses and their products -- which are the main source of protein for India's huge vegetarian population -- went down by 15.4% in rural areas, and by 16.3% in urban areas; and edible oil consumption went down by 14.6% in rural areas and 16.6% in urban areas.
Further, according to the survey, as for beverages, refreshments and processed food, their consumption went down by 11.2% in rural areas, but went up by 2.8% in urban areas; and the consumption of fruits went down by 1.5% in rural areas, while it went up by 18.2% in urban areas. Overall, while food consumption in rural areas went down by 9.8%, in urban areas it went up by 0.2%.
A calculation of the survey, conducted about the time when the GoI implemented goods and services tax (GST), and a few months after the controversial demonetisation move, "would suggest that the percentage of population in poverty would have gone up by at least 10 percentage points", says Prof Himanshu, a well-known development economist with the Jawaharlal Nehru University's Centre for Economic Studies and Planning.
Quoted by Jha, the senior economist says, the last time the NSO showed a fall in consumption in real terms was in 1972-73 due to global oil crisis. Before that, in the mid-1960s, consumption fell due to a domestic food crisis. The most worrying trend in the 2017-18 survey is the dip in food consumption for the first time in decades, implying "worsening malnutrition in the country."

Comments

TRENDING

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

Modi govt 'implementing' IMF-envisaged corporate takeover of Indian agriculture

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* The surge of wealth of Indian billionaires and the Modi-led BJP government’s onslaught on poor, marginalised and farmers continue to grow simultaneously as masses face annihilating pandemic of coronavirus. There is 90 % rise of Indian billionaire’s wealth over last one decade. It is not accidental.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).

Haven't done a good deed, inner soul is cursing me as sinner: Aurangzeb's last 'will'

Counterview Desk The Tomb of Aurangzeb, the last of the strong Mughal emperors, located in Khuldabad, Aurangabad district, Maharashtra, has this epitaph inscribed on it: "Az tila o nuqreh gar saazand gumbad aghniyaa! Bar mazaar e maa ghareebaan gumbad e gardun bas ast" (the rich may well construct domes of gold and silver on their graves. For the poor folks like me, the sky is enough to shelter my grave).