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

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.

Global Hunger Index: Govt of India response pathetic, 'lacks' scientific empirical evidence

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Come 16 October – and the world once again focused on the most basic need for a person’s survival: food! The first World Food Day was observed in 1994, to mark the launch of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Ever since, the day is marked to highlight the need and importance of food security across the world. The significance is accentuated especially in these difficult times like the C-19 povidandemic. The theme for 2021 is ‘Safe Food Now for a Healthier Tomorrow’, emphasising on the various immediate and long-term benefits of consuming safe and healthy food.

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.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

March opposes Sabarmati Ashram renovation: 'Mahatmaji had kept open for access to all'

Counterview Desk A Sevagram to Sabarmati march, which began on October 17 from Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end on October 24 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has demanded that the Sabarmati Ashram, the government should not impose "the fashion and glitz of a shallow modernity" at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, in the name of renovating the Ashram founded by Gandhiji.

Nehru legacy? GDP-centric growth has had 'no positive impact' on people's livelihood

By Dr Kamal Nayan Kabra*  Experience has shown that many counties adopt measures to go in for the growth of their GDP, basically in the existing framework, though also going in for, at the same time, new products and technologies and similar other changes. It is believed that by means of this process enough new job opportunities would emerge to meet the economy’s needs both in terms of numbers as also in terms of the requisite remuneration (wages) as also the supplies of the goods and services to maintain the economy on an even keel.