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Average Indian spends just Rs 440 on food a month

Posted Dec 19 2009 11:03pm

New Delhi: An Indian spends just Rs 440 or less than US $10 per month on food, says a government survey released here on Friday.

An Indian living in rural areas, however, spends even less—only Rs 363, while his urban counterpart Rs 517 per month, an official report here said on Friday.

"Average monthly per capita consumer expenditure was Rs 695 in rural India and Rs 1,312 in urban India," the National Sample Survey Organisation's (NSSO) report 'Household Consumer Expenditure in India-2006-07' said.

The findings of the NSSO, an agency of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, showed monthly per capita expenditure in rural India on food going up to Rs 363 in 2006-07 from Rs 333 in 2005-06, reports IANS.

In urban areas, an individual was found to be spending Rs 517 a month on food during the period under reference against Rs 468 in 2005-06.

"The increase in expenditure is negligible, with monthly per capita consumer expenditure going up to Rs 695 from Rs 625 in 2005-06, out of which only Rs 363 is spent on food," Rajesh Jaiswal, an associate fellow at the policy think tank National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), said.

"It is an alarming situation, which will lead to severe malnutrition, and will subsequently weaken human resources. The government must reorient its policies," Jaiswal said.

According to the National Family Health Survey-2005-06, India's 70 per cent children aged six to 59 months are anaemic, which is primarily linked to poor nutrition.

The NSSO data showed a rural Indian spending just Rs 12 per month on fruit, while his urban counterpart Rs 28. The monthly expenditure on cereals and cereal substitutes by a rural and urban Indian stands, respectively, at Rs 115 and Rs 119.

"It is a dismal scenario," said Jaiswal, whose area of research at NCAER is health and education.

NSSO survey results relate to July 2006 to June 2007, and findings are based on a randomly drawn sample, 63,729 households spread over 5,573 villages and 7,698 urban blocks countrywide.

Key findings of NSSO survey

  • Around 50.3 per cent of the Indian rural population's monthly per capita consumer expenditure (MPCE) is less than Rs 580.
  • About 50 per cent urban households' monthly per capita consumer expenditure is less than Rs 990.
  • Average quantity of cereals consumed per person per month in 2006-07 was 1,170 grams in rural areas and 960 grams in urban areas.
  • Per capita consumption of rice was 6,560 grams and 4,800 grams in rural and urban areas respectively, and the respective consumption of wheat was 3,970 grams and 4,430 grams per person per month.
  • About 22 per cent rural households lived in katcha (without concrete) structures, while 29 per cent lived in semi-pucca (permanent) structures.
  • In rural India, 75 per cent households depended on firewood and chips as major cooking fuel. Only nine per cent used liquefied petroleum gas.
  • About 56 per cent rural households used electricity for lighting while 42 per cent used kerosene.
  • Only 7.2 per cent rural males aged 15 or more got employments in public works in the last 365 days, and 3.5 per cent females.
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