The National Statistical Commission will not be making a survey on consumer spending public, which shows a decline for the first time in over 40 year in the year 2017-18, reported Business Standard.
This development comes two months after NSC chief, Bimal Kumar Roy said the survey would be released.
On being asked why NSC decided not to publish survey, Roy said, “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 chairperson but it didn’t get through. I cannot say anything more now.”
According to a report in Business Standard, Chief Statistician Pravin Srivastava objected to the release of the survey. The minutes of the meeting did not record the views of the person who dissented. “This raises eyebrows on the manner in which the discussions were conducted within the NSC,” an official was quoted as saying.
A report in November had stated that consumer spending slipped to 3.7% between 2011-’12 and 2017-’18, the first such fall in 40 years, indicating a rise in the level of poverty. Following this, the National Statistical Commission decided not to publish the survey.
“Considering the analysis and views of members, it was agreed that the household consumer expenditure survey data are not sensitive enough to capture the significant changes in consumption behaviour, especially those goods and services delivered through social welfare programmes,” the minutes of the meeting, which the Business Standard had accessed, claimed.
NSC recommended carrying out fresh surveys for 2020-’21 and 2021-’22.
Gross Domestic Product growth rate slipped to 4.5% in the second quarter of 2019-’20, the lowest in six years. Modi government has forecast a growth rate of 5% for the financial year. The fall in the growth rate is primarily due to a decline in consumer demand. Meanwhile, retail inflation rose to a near-six-year high of 7.59% in January this year.
Earlier, Modi government had refused to release a survey by the National Sample Survey Organisation before 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which showed that unemployment in 2017-’18 rose to a 45-year high of 6.1%.
However, the survey was released after the polls, and the government promptly disowned it.