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Consumer expenditure survey not to be released due to 'data quality issues', Congress targets government

New Delhi , Nov 15 : The results of Consumer Expenditure Survey 2017-2018 will not be released in view of data quality issues, Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation said on Friday.
The ministry said in a release that it had seen media reports regarding Consumer Expenditure Survey by the NSO stating that consumer spending is falling and the report has been withheld due to its 'adverse' findings.

"We would like to emphatically state that there is a rigorous procedure for vetting of data and reports which are produced through surveys. All such submissions which come to the Ministry are draft in nature and cannot be deemed to be the final report," the ministry said.

It said the Advisory Committee on National Accounts Statistics has also separately recommended that for rebasing of the GDP series, 2017-18 is not an appropriate year to be used as the new base year.

"In view of the data quality issues, the Ministry has decided not to release the Consumer Expenditure Survey results of 2017-2018," the release said.

It said that the National Statistical Office (NSO) carried out an all-India survey on household consumption expenditure in the 75th round during the period July 2017 to June 2018.

The NSS Consumer Expenditure Survey generates estimates of household monthly per capita consumer expenditure (MPCE) and the distribution of households and persons over the MPCE classes.

The release said that results of the survey were examined and it was noted that there was a significant increase in the divergence in not only the levels in the consumption pattern but also the direction of the change when compared to the other administrative data sources like the actual production of goods and services.

"Concerns were also raised about the ability/sensitivity of the survey instrument to capture consumption of social services by households especially on health and education," it said.

The release said the matter was referred to a committee of experts which noted the discrepancies and came out with several recommendations including refinement in the survey methodology and improving the data quality aspects on a concurrent basis.

"The recommendations of the committee are being examined for implementation in future surveys," the release said.

It said the Ministry is separately examining the feasibility of conducting the next Consumer Expenditure Survey in 2020-2021 and 2021-22 after incorporating all data quality refinements in the survey process.

Meanwhile, the Congress party targeted the government earlier in the day and alleged that the "leaked report" of Household Consumer Expenditure 2017-18 shows the average expenditure of Indians has fallen by 3.7 per cent and such reduction had come for the first time in 40 years.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said at a press conference here that leaked report shows that the person who spent Rs 1501 in a month in 2011-12 was spending Rs 1446 in 2017-18.

He said the fall in spending was 8.8 per cent in rural India. "This is a serious issue. Rural India was spending Rs 643 in a month in 2011-12, it is spending Rs 580 in 2017-18," he alleged.

Khera said that a committee of statistics department had cleared the data to be released in June this year but the "government did not allow it".

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also targeted the government on the issue.

Priyanka Gandhi alleged in tweets that consumer spending has collapsed.

"Successive govts have striven tirelessly to combat poverty and empower the people. This govt is making history by driving people into poverty while rural India faces the dire consequences of their policies, the BJP ensures that their corporate friends become richer by the day. Usually, governments work towards eradicating poverty, not towards eliminating data," she said.

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Consumer expenditure survey not to be released due to 'data quality issues', Congress targets government

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