"Election-inspired": Kharge on Household Expenditure Survey

Kharge cites discrepancies and possible data manipulation, questions its accuracy in portraying economic realities like inflation and GDP

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge demands a timely census instead of an "election-inspired" Consumption Expenditure Survey (photo: National Herald archives)
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge demands a timely census instead of an "election-inspired" Consumption Expenditure Survey (photo: National Herald archives)
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PTI

Slamming the Centre for releasing an "election-inspired" Household Consumption Expenditure Survey, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday, 27 February, demanded a census be conducted soon for accurate information, insisting it should also incorporate a caste survey.

In a post shared on X in Hindi, Kharge said that after 10 years of "deep sleep", the Modi government has finally come out with an "election-inspired" survey on public expenditure and income.

"The Modi government has made an unsuccessful attempt to pat itself on the back in the survey," he said.

"We have only one demand: for correct information, the Census of 2021 should be done as soon as possible and a caste census should be a part of it. The Congress party will definitely get it done as soon as its government is formed," the Congress chief added.

Kharge also asked why, if the country's economy was as shiny as shown in the Household Consumption Expenditure Survey, the poorest 5 per cent of rural India was spending only Rs 46 daily.

Why did the poorest 5 per cent of families get the least benefit from government schemes — only Rs 68/month? Did the capitalist friends get the remaining benefits?
Mallikarjun Kharge, president, Indian National Congress

"Why is the monthly income of farmers less than the average income of rural India? Why has the fuel expenditure of rural families reduced by only 1.5 per cent while the Modi government continues to boast of the success of the Ujjwala scheme?" the Congress leader asked.

"Citing the survey report, NITI Aayog officials are saying poverty in India is now only 5 per cent, but according to another report of the Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index of the same NITI Aayog, the poverty figure is 11.28 per cent," Kharge said.

Noting that both the surveys are for 2022-23, he asked, "Why is the Modi government making fun of the poor?"

"Modi-ji, please do not lower the reputation of India's universally recognised data collection and surveys...," he added.

According to Kharge, experts say the government can change the criteria for measuring food inflation data from this survey. "Is this not an attempt to hide back-breaking inflation with fake data?" he asked.

Kharge also asked, "Is it not true that the Modi government admitted in a PIB press release that the Advisory Committee — National Accounts Statistics rejected its suggestion of changing the base year of GDP to 2017-18 and why so?"

"Did the Modi government want to take electoral advantage of the GDP base year and hide the real facts?" he added.

Kharge claimed that the surprising thing is that the nomenclature of this Household Consumption Expenditure Survey should have been the 69th Round or the 70th Round, but the round this survey was named for has deliberately been kept ambiguous.

This has been done so that manipulation of data goes undetected, he alleged.

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