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

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

'Discussed' with Modi, Gujarat Rann Sarovar proposal for Kutch runs into rough weather

By Rajiv Shah
Top Saurashtra industrialist Jaysukhbhai Patel’s by now controversial proposal to convert the 4,900 sq km Little Rann of Kutch area, an eco-sensitive zone – a UNESCO biosphere, world’s only wild ass reserve, and a nesting ground of lesser flamingoes – into a huge sweet water lake, called Rann Sarovar, has suffered a major roadblock. At least three Central agencies have expressed serious doubts about its feasibility.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.