Of India & Bharat
Despite tall claims by UPA economy managers, the per capita expenditure in urban area was on an average about 88% higher than that of rural India. The survey, however, reveals the share of the food basket in total consumption expenditure is coming down in both rural and urban India. The corresponding figures are 57% and 44.4% for rural and urban areas, respectively. The share of food in total consumption has declined since 1987-88 by about 10 percentage points to 53.6% in the rural sector and by about 16 points to 40.7% in urban sector. In rural India, people are spending less on cereals, edible oil and fruits and more on pulses, milk, non-vegetarian items and beverages. In urban India, consumption of nearly all food items is either going down or has remained constant as compared to the earlier survey. In both rural and urban areas, consumption of non-food items, including consumer durables, education and recreation, among others, has gone up because of the decline in expenditure on food items. The income disparity has also grown as there is a huge gap between the income level of the top and bottom segments in the country, according to the 66th household consumption expenditure survey released by the National Sample Survey Organization. The top 10% of the rural population had an average per capita monthly spending of Rs 2,517, which is 5.6 times that of the bottom 10%. In urban India, the top 10% had per capita spending of Rs 5,863, or about 9.8 times than the bottom 10%. The income inequality between the rural and urban consumer also widened to 91% in the first five years of the UPA rule. The per capita spending in urban areas is now 91% higher than his rural counterpart as compared to 80% in the 61st survey (2004-05) held. The survey, however, reflects a rise in consumption power. The per capita spending by rural consumers has grown 6% in 2009-10 against 1.2% in ’04-05. Even per capita spending by urban consumer has risen 6.8% as compared to 2.9% in the earlier survey. “The average monthly per capita expenditure in 2009-10 was estimated as Rs 1,053.6 in rural India and Rs 1,984.4 in urban India,” the survey said. The fate of urban poor is not much better than their rural counterparts. The poorest 10% of rural population had an average monthly spending of Rs 453, while the poorest 10% in urban areas the average was Rs 599. In rural India, half of the population belonged to households with monthly expenses below Rs 895 and nearly 40% of the rural population had an expenditure below Rs 800. About 60% of the rural population had spent less than Rs 1,000, while only about 10% had an MPCE above Rs 1,650. In urban areas, half the population was living with an MPCE below Rs 1,500. About 70% of the rural had an MPCE above Rs 1,100, while 30% was Rs 2,100 and 20% above Rs 2,600.