The All-India Household Consumer Expenditure Survey, usually conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) every five years, is set to resume this year after a prolonged break.
What is ‘Consumer Expenditure Survey’?
- The CES is traditionally a quinquennial (recurring every five years) survey conducted by the government’s National Statistical Office (NSO).
- It is designed to collect information on the consumption spending patterns of households across the country, both urban and rural.
- The data gathered in this exercise reveals the average expenditure on goods (food and non-food) and services.
- It helps generate estimates of household Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (MPCE) as well as the distribution of households and persons over the MPCE classes.
- Typically, the Survey is conducted between July and June and this year’s exercise is expected to be completed by June 2023.
- Estimates of household monthly per capita consumer expenditure (MPCE) and the distribution of households and persons over different MPCE classes, based on the Survey, may only become available about a year after the field work is completed.
- The results will include separate data sets for rural and urban parts, and also splice spending patterns for each State and Union Territory, as well as different socio-economic groups.
- Fresh one-off surveys on consumer expenditure and employment and unemployment were commissioned over 2011-12 after the usually scheduled Surveys conducted in 2009-10 had coincided with a worldwide slowdown following the 2008 global financial crisis and a drought year in India.
- India has not had any official estimates on per capita household spending, used to arrive at estimates of poverty levels in different parts of the country and to review economic indicators such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), since 2011-12.
- The government had junked the findings of the last Survey, conducted in 2017-18, citing “data quality” issues.
- The Survey could not be launched in the past two years due to the pandemic.
Why the government is resuming the survey?
- Since 2011-12, India hasn’t had any official estimates on per capita household spending, used to arrive at estimates of poverty levels in different parts of the country and to review economic indicators like the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the estimates of monthly per capita consumption spending etc.
- India is obliged to follow good practices in four areas in disseminating macroeconomic statistics to the public. These comprise: Coverage, periodicity, and timeliness of data; public access to those data; data integrity; and data quality. India is a subscriber to the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard which requires India to follow these obligations. The IMF’s ‘Annual Observance Report’ for 2018 had flagged concerns about India’s delays in releasing economic data.