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Government to check for inconsistencies in Household Expenditure survey

The meeting took place in the wake of a leaked draft of the Household Consumer Expenditure survey report showing a decline in consumer spending in rural India in 2017-18. MoSPI, which had junked the survey, said it would not use it for official purposes but was examining its repercussions and impact on all base revision of various economic indicators.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 05, 2019, 07.26 AM IST
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Committees will be formed to look at the supply-side data that can be corroborated with the expenditure figures.
NEW DELHI: The government has decided to rework the findings of the Household Consumer Expenditure survey and check for inconsistencies, especially over spending on health and education in rural areas that has likely fallen due to the impact of social security schemes. It is likely to come out with a revised report on the survey early next year.

The decision to rework the survey was taken at a meeting on data quality issues between the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) and the National Statistical Commission (NSC) here on Wednesday. “We looked at serious issues of data consistency and if post survey, some studies can be done to correct those inconsistencies,” said one official.

The meeting took place in the wake of a leaked draft of the Household Consumer Expenditure survey report showing a decline in consumer spending in rural India in 2017-18. MoSPI, which had junked the survey, said it would not use it for official purposes but was examining its repercussions and impact on all base revision of various economic indicators.

The commission has recommended the reworked survey report of 2017-2018 to be finalised in the next two months, as the ministry is examining the feasibility of the next survey in 2020-2021 and 2021-22.

Committees will be formed to look at the supply-side data that can be corroborated with the expenditure figures.

The leaked draft of the report had allegedly showed that the average amount of money spent by an Indian in a month fell 3.7% to Rs 1,446 in 2017-18 from ?1,501 in 2011-12. While consumer spending declined 8.8% in 2017-18 in India’s villages, in cities it rose 2% over the same period, according to that document. The ministry will also look at surveys of last three years to develop protocols for introducing checks at various stages of the survey process, right from data collection.

HEALTH, FOOD, EDUCATION
The ministry said that over the years, government spending on social security benefits including cheaper or free food, education and health had increased through the Aadhaar-linked Public Distribution System, Right to Education and the National Health Mission, which made people spend less on these.

“When respondents are asked questions on how much they spend on these, they say zero. In the analysis, when we found that we have used the same instrument, it depresses the consumption,” said another official.
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