Narendra Modi-led government has decided not to release the official findings of Consumer Survey for the financial year 2017-18, due to "data quality issues."
The announcement from Centre came after media reports claimed that the government had stalled the release of customer spending figures due to its "adverse findings."
However, the government has now denied these allegations.
Here are more details on this.
The Consumer survey was withheld by NSO, post approval
The said survey was conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) between July 2017 and June 2018. The survey report was approved to be released on June 19 this year, but was later reportedly 'withheld' by the government agency.
Consumer spending fell for first time in 40 years: Report
According to a Business Standard report, citing unpublished NSO data, Consumer expenditure dipped for the first time in India since 1973.
The fall was primarily due to weaker rural demand, which further hints at increasing poverty in India, in the recent years.
The report also reveals a 10% drop in rural food consumption, implying worsening state of malnutrition in the country.
Consumer expenditure reduced by 3.7% in FY 2017-18, report reveals
Further, according to the report, the average monthly amount that a person spent reduced by 3.7% to Rs. 1,446 in FY 2017-18, in comparison from Rs. 1,501 in FY 2011-12. Notably, the figures had been adjusted for inflation, taking FY 2009-10 as the base year.
However, government has denied allegations about stalling of report
Dismissing media reports about withholding of survey, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) said on Friday, "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," it stated.
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Ministry now contemplating next Consumer survey in 2020-21, 2021-22
The ministry further said that it is now examining the viability of carrying out the next Consumer Expenditure Survey in 2020-2021 and 2021-22, after incorporating all 'data quality refinements' in the procedure.
Earlier, government postponed release of harrowing unemployment data
More worryingly, this isn't the first time that this government has refused to release the official survey data.
Earlier this year, the release of a National Sample Survey Office's (NSSO) periodic labor force survey was postponed, despite allegedly being vetted by the National Statistical Commission in December 2018.
Later, the report showed that India's unemployment rate was at a 45-year-high of 6.1% during 2017-18.