Consumer spend survey won’t be released: Ministry
A media report citing a National Statistical Office (NSO) survey titled, ‘Key Indicators: Household Consumer Expenditure in India,’ showed that the average amount spent by an Indian in a month fell 3.7% to Rs 1,446 in 2017-18 from Rs 1,501 in 2011...
A media report on Friday citing a National Statistical Office (NSO) survey titled, ‘Key Indicators: Household Consumer Expenditure in India,’ allegedly showed that the average amount spent by an Indian in a month fell 3.7% to Rs 1,446 in 2017-18 from Rs 1,501 in 2011-12. While consumer spending declined 8.8% in 2017-18 in India’s villages, it rose 2% over six years in cities, it said.
“In view of the data quality issues, the ministry has decided not to release the Consumer Expenditure Survey results of 2017-2018,” the ministry of statistics and programme implementation said in a statement.
The ministry said it “is separately examining the feasibility of conducting the next Consumer Expenditure Survey in 2020-2021 and 2021-22 after incorporating all data quality refinements in the survey process.”
Usually conducted every five years, with the last one done from July 2011 to June 2012, the survey generates estimates of household Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (MPCE) and the distribution of households and people over the MPCE classes. It is designed to collect information about expenditure on consumption of goods and services (food and non-food) by households, which is also used to rebase gross domestic product (GDP) and other macro-economic indicators.
The media report also said the survey report was withheld due to its ‘adverse’ findings.
The ministry “emphatically” stated that there is a rigorous procedure for vetting of data and reports produced through surveys. “All such submissions which come to the ministry are draft in nature and cannot be deemed to be the final report,” it said.
Explaining that when the results of the survey were examined, the ministry found a significant increase in the divergence in consumption pattern levels and the direction of change when compared to other administrative data sources such as actual production of goods and services.
Concerns were also raised over the ability/sensitivity of the survey instrument to capture consumption of social services by households, especially on health and education, due to which the matter was referred to a committee of experts.
The committee noted the discrepancies and made its recommendations, including refinement of the survey methodology and improving data quality aspects on a concurrent basis.
“The recommendations of the committee are being examined for implementation in future surveys,” the ministry said.
Separately, the Advisory Committee on National Accounts Statistics has recommended that for rebasing of the GDP series, 2017-18 is not appropriate as the new base year. The ministry was contemplating making 2017-18 the new base year for GDP calculations, but economists cautioned against it as disruptions brought about by the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax and demonetisation did not make it a “normal year.”