No decrease in household consumer spending: Government

NEW DELHI: Consumer spending It has increased in 2018-19, Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh said Thursday to Rajya Sabha by describing reports of falling consumption as a mistake.

In response to a complementary question in the Chamber, the minister of statistics, implementation and program planning said: No (consumer spending) has not decreased, it is a mistake. It has increased in fiscal year 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2018-19.

Talking about a draft consumer expense survey (CES) for 2017-18, the minister said the government has not published the report of the Central Bureau of Statistics ( CSO ) as concerns about their ability and sensitivity were raised.

Singh said the report has not been accepted or rejected.

We have not accepted it so far. It is not rejected or accepted. There is a difference between the two, Singh said, adding that it was not accepted due to the divergence.

According to the minister, when data is presented before the ministry, its authentication is rigorously verified.

Why has it not been accepted? There was a lot of divergence in the ESC report and other sources of administrative data such as real products such as goods and services, he said.

Concerns were also raised about the capacity and sensitivity of the survey instrument to capture the social consumption of households, especially in health and education, etc., said Singh.

The minister also stated that around 10 crore homes are connected through the government's Ayushman scheme and get free Rs 5 lakh medical insurance per year and people are also not spending on education due to the Right to Education, since it is free.

In the PDS system there were several gaps that have been filled and there are no expenses in that, said the minister later, noting that consumption has not decreased.

His answer was about a complementary question posed by the leader of Congress. Jairam Ramesh , who claimed that the minister's response was misleading since consumption and expenditure data, which are now in the public domain, have shown a decrease.

It showed the lowest consumption in rural and urban areas in the last 48 years. The government decided to suspend the data. My question is that what the government found in the data forced him to withdraw, Ramesh said.