Thalinomics of Economic Survey: Daily bread is more affordable now

Average veg household has gained Rs 10,887 on average per year, non-veg household gained Rs 11,787

GN Bureau | January 31, 2020


#growth   #parliament   #Nirmala Sitharaman   #finance ministry   #Economic Survey   #food   #nutrition   #inflation  
(File photo: Arun Kumar)
(File photo: Arun Kumar)

The Economic Survey, tabled in parliament Friday by minister for finance and corporate affairs Nirmala Sitharaman, devotes a section on what it calls Thalinomics – an attempt to quantify what a common person pays for a Thali across India.

Thalis have become more affordable vis-à-vis a day’s pay of a worker over time, indicating improved welfare of the common person, says the Survey 2019-20. It estimates that vegetarian thalis has become more affordable by 29 percent from 2006-07 to 2019-20, while the figure for non-vegetarian thalis is 18 percent.

The survey has used the dietary guidelines for Indians to calculate the prices of thalis. Price data from the Consumer Price Index for industrial workers for around 80 centres in 25 states and UTs from April 2006 to October 2019 have been used for the study.

The Survey states that across India and also the four regions of North, South, East and West, it is found that the absolute prices of a veg Thali have decreased significantly since 2015-16 though it has increased in 2019. This is due to the sharp downward trend in the prices of vegetables and dal in contrast to the previous trend of increasing prices. As a result, an average household of five individuals that eats two vegetarian thalis a day has gained around Rs 10,887, on average per year, while a non-veg household gained Rs 11,787, on average per year.

The Survey states that 2015-16 can be considered as a year when there was a shift in the dynamics of thali prices. Many reform measures were introduced since 2014-15 to enhance the productivity of the agricultural sector as well as efficiency and effectiveness of agricultural markets for better and more transparent price discovery.

The Economic Survey says that food is not just an end in itself but also an essential ingredient in the growth human capital and therefore important for national wealth creation. “Zero hunger” has been agreed upon by nations of the world as a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of the UN.

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