Consumer Spend Report Showing 1st Dip in 40 Yrs Won’t Be Released

Consumer expenditure reports to derive official estimates on poverty and inequality in the country.

Published
India
2 min read
A report by the National Statistical Office, based on a consumption expenditure survey has shown consumer spending falling for the first time in more than four decades.
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National Statistical Office’s (NSO’s) official survey report showing a dip in consumer spending for the first time in over four decades will not be made public, according to Business Standard.

This comes more than a month after National Statistical Commission (NSC) Chairperson Bimal Kumar Roy said the report would be released. NSC is the apex autonomous body which oversees India’s statistical system.

“I did try. I made a proposal (in an NSC meeting on January 15) to release the survey but I didn’t find support. I did put in the proposal as chairman but it didn’t get through,” Roy said, when asked why NSC had gone back on its word.

The leaked report by the NSO, based on a consumption expenditure survey conducted by the organisation between July 2017 and June 2018, shows a drop in consumer spending for the first time in more than four decades on weak rural demand.

Sources told Buisness Standard that Chief Statistician Pravin Srivastava objected to the release of the survey data, in the NSC meeting. One member raised objections to this, however, the person’s views weren’t incorporated in the minutes of the meeting.

NSO’s survey design and research division gave a presentation during the meeting, reportedly highlighting issues with the data and reasons for the dip in consumer spending.

The NSC has recommended conducting fresh surveys on consumer spending in FY21 and FY22 with an improved methodology, according to the publication. The government has set up an expert committee led by former chief statistician Pronab Sen for this purpose.

Sen has said that field work would face challenges due to the recent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, across the country.

“We are going to have serious problems in conducting the survey from now on. There is a likelihood of a fair amount of non-response, which can actually contaminate the data quite badly,”
Pronab Sen to Business Standard

This was the first time that the government has officially decided to not release a survey report after its completion, according to Business Standard.

Consumer expenditure reports to derive official estimates on poverty and inequality in the country.

(With inputs from Business Standard)

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