Regional Variation in Consumption Expenditure and Nutritional Intake and its Determinants: an Empirical Study of Madhya Pradesh

Jaspal Singh(punjabimatti82@gmail.com) is a Consultant at NITI Aayog, New Delhi Tanima Dutta(tanimadutta@gmail.com) is a Professor in the Department of Economics at Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, Shilpi Kapoor(shilpikapoor39@gmail.com) is a Research Associate at ICAR-National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, New Delhi, Anupama Rawat(anupamasuresh1@gmail.com) is a Professor of Public Policy at RCVP Noronha Academy of Administration and Management, Bhopal, and Nirmal Singh(nirmalpakho19@gmail.com)is a Research Scholar at Barkatullah University Bhopal.
3 December 2023

The 2030 Agenda for eradicating poverty and hunger, Sustainable Development Goals made progress in its blueprint and reaffirmed to eradicate poverty (SDG 1), end hunger, and improve nutrition (SDG 2) by 2030. The objective of this article is to study the changing status of consumption expenditure and nutrition intake over time in Madhya Pradesh. Further, it makes a comparative analysis of the consumption expenditure and nutrition intake in regions by mapping the districts to know the areas that lagged behind in terms of the growth rate of consumption expenditure and nutrition. Finally, it also identifies the factors that determine the consumption expenditure and nutrition intake. This study is based on the National Sample Survey unit-level household consumption expenditure data for 2011–12. The Shivpuri, Guna, and Ashok Nagar districts have high growth rates of protein intake in the northern region. However, the Sagar, Damoh, and Sehore districts have moderate growth rates, and the Vidisha, Bhopal, and Raisen districts have high growth rates in fat intake giving insights of more oil intake and consumption outside the home in the central region of Madhya Pradesh. The results of the two-stage feasible generalized least squares model support the existing literature showing that various determinants have significant effects on the dependent variables. The government should target the expenditure on social security at the young and elderly people in different districts of the state. The pulses should be brought under the Public Distribution System and government should target the region-specific policies that target the lagged regions of the states, which replicate the success stories of the advanced ones.

Introduction

            Eradicating hunger is crucial to mitigate crises and lift people out of poverty. In 2018, 10.8 percent (821.6 million) of the global population suffered from undernourishment (SOFI-FAO 2019), presenting a substantial challenge to achieving the zero-hunger goal by 2030. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda for eradicating poverty and hunger has reaffirmed its commitment to eradicating poverty Sustainable Development Goal [SDG] 1 and ending hunger (SDG 2) by 2030, but substantial efforts are still needed. According to the United Nations (2019), more than one billion individuals have moved out of poverty over the past 25 years, but worldwide hunger has been on the rise since 2014.

India's development agenda places significant importance on addressing poverty and hunger, with a specific focus on assessing hunger through low diet energy intake. Estimating the proportion of people who cannot access food is a challenging aspect of the hunger eradication policy. The unidimensional use of calorie intake as a measure of nutritional adequacy in poverty alleviation programmes has been shown to have potentially adverse consequences (Sen 2005).

India has experienced a paradoxical trend where the per capita calorie intake has decreased despite increasing real per capita monthly expenditures, known as the “calorie consumption puzzle” (Deaton and Drèze 2009; Basu and Basole 2013). The debate over the disparity between rising and falling expenditures has been a notable concern in India (Patnaik 2004, 2010). Some studies have reported declines in rural deprivation (Kumar et al. 2009) and reductions in the monthly per capita consumption expenditure (MPCE) (Deshmukh and Vyavahare 2018) from pre-reform to post-reform periods in India. Research by scholars like Svedberg (2000), Meenakshi and Vishwanathan (2003), Sen (2005), Ray (2007), and Das (2019) has made significant contributions to the analysis of consumption expenditure and nutrition.

Madhya Pradesh is a cause for concern due to malnourishment, which affects labour efficiency and perpetuates poverty. Despite being the largest state in India, it has faced challenges in poverty eradication as noted by Thorat (2006). According to the Planning Commission, poverty rates declined in Madhya Pradesh from 2004–05 to 2011–12. Nevertheless, the state continues to grapple with an average per capita daily calorie intake of 2,128 kilocalories (kcal) and 30.5 million undernourished people in 2011–12 (Rawal, Bansal, and Bansal 2019), compared to 2,135 kcal and 472.2 million undernourished individuals, with 39 per cent of the population undernourished in India.

Several studies have addressed interregional disparities in consumption patterns and living standards in India, revealing increasing differentials over time (Bhattacharya and Mahalanobis 1967; Deaton and Drèze 2002; Cain et al. 2010). Sethi and Pandhi (2012) estimated gaps in the calorie, protein, and fat intake in rural and urban India. Fewer studies (Jha and Gaiha 2004) have focused on regional analyses of nutrition and poverty incidence in India. Kapoor and Nabi (2020) examined the MPCE and nutrition intake across social and religious groups in Punjab. Understanding the regional disparities in consumption expenditure and nutrition in Madhya Pradesh, a vast state, is of paramount importance.

The objectives of this article encompass studying the changes in consumption expenditure and nutrition intake over time, conducting comparative analyses of consumption expenditure and nutrition intake in regions, and identifying factors influencing consumption expenditure and nutrition intake in Madhya Pradesh. It aims to elucidate region-specific gaps in undernutrition and hunger and contribute to the achievement of SDG 1 and 2 targets.

Data and Methodology

            This study is based on the National Sample Survey (NSS) unit-level household consumption expenditure data for 2011–12 and the data in published reports by the NSS on the nutritional situation in India for different rounds. The coefficients provided by the Indian Council of Medical Research have been used for estimating the values of nutrition from different food items based on the contents given by Pant, Deosthale, and Narasinga (1991). These coefficients are also used by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) in the key indicators on the “Nutritional Intake in India, 2011–12.” The information on quantity consumption by the households has been converted into the measurement of nutrition, which includes the calorie, protein, and fat intake of each of the nutrients. Figure 1 indicates the number of sample households across the NSS regions and the different districts in various regions in Madhya Pradesh.

Empirical Model

            In order to determine the factors affecting the monthly per capita consumption expenditure and the calorie, protein, and fat intake, the two-stage feasible generalised least Squares (FGLS) technique has been used in the study. This method has been used to remove heteroscedasticity as suggested in the literature (Imai 2011; Kanwal et al. 2019). The two-stage FGLS has been estimated using the following equation:

            Table 1 outlines the variables used to determine the monthly per capita consumption expenditure and the calorie, protein, and fat intake. The average age of the household head was 45 years, predominantly male (93 per cent). The average household size was 5, with 26% owning agricultural land, possessing an average of 1.15 hectare (ha). The majority followed the Hindu religion (89.82%), with smaller Muslim and Sikh populations, and a small presence of other religious groups. The largest share of the population belonged to other backward castes (OBCs) (43.54%), followed by other social groups, Scheduled Tribes (STs), and Scheduled Castes (SCs). Roughly 77 per cent of households held ration cards. Education-wise, around a quarter of the population in Madhya Pradesh was illiterate, while 27% had primary education, 14.03% had middle education, and 14.48% were graduates or had higher education. Additionally, 10.39% had completed higher secondary education and 8.8% had finished secondary education.

Table 1: Description of variables used in two-stage FGLS model

 

Results and Discussion

As can be observed in Table 2, the MPCE increases in different rounds, although the calorie, protein, and fat intake declined in 2004–05 in the rural areas. The reason for the calorie intake decline is the diversification of Indian diets from 1993–94 to 2009–10 (Gaiha et al. 2013). However, in the urban areas, the fat intake increased in different years with increased imports of soya and palm oil (Srinivasan 2005), and the protein intake declined marginally in 2004–05 and 2011–12; the estimated growth rate is negative despite the fact that Madhya Pradesh is the top producer of pulses. Interestingly, the increase in calorie intake between 2009–10 and 2011–12 plausibly explains the Pareto improvement (Ghosh and Quadeer 2017) in India.

Table 2: Level and growth rate of MPCE and nutrient intake per capita* in Madhya Pradesh over time

Notes: * denotes consumption expenditure and intake are estimated per capita and not per consuming unit; # denotes CPI-AL converter used for converting data at 2011–12 price.

 

Table 3 shows the level of consumption expenditure and the calorie, protein, and fat intake across various NSS regions in Madhya Pradesh during 2011–12. The consumption expenditure of the central region was the highest ( 2,119.5) across regions, although the calorie intake of the Vindhya region (2,578.3 kcal) was slightly higher than the central region with a large difference in the consumption expenditure of these regions. The protein intake was highest in the northern region with less consumption expenditure. The fat intake of the central region was highest with 60.3 gm due to the high level of consumption expenditure among the regions in Madhya Pradesh.

Table 3: Level of consumption expenditure and the calorie, protein, and fat intake per consuming unit across NSS regions in Madhya Pradesh

Source: Authors’ estimation based on the NSSO-CES data, 2011–12.

            To determine whether there are statistical differences between the means of various regions in terms of MPCE and nutrition intake, a comparison of mean differences was conducted. Table 4 shows that the central region had a statistically significant difference in terms of consumption expenditure compared to the northern, southern, southwestern, and Vindhya regions. However, the mean difference in calorie intake for the Vindhya region compared to all other regions was not significant. A statistically significant difference was observed in the northern region compared to the southern and Vindhya regions in terms of protein intake. Furthermore, the central region exhibited a significant difference in fat intake compared to the south, southwest, and Vindhya regions in Madhya Pradesh.

Table 4: Analysis of mean difference of MPCE and nutrition intake per consuming unit across NSS Region in Madhya Pradesh

Source: Authors’ estimation.

Note: The difference of the two means is estimated through the LSD method; *, **, and *** show the significance at 10, 5, and 1 per cent levels of significance.

 

The study extends its analysis to identify districts lagging in terms of growth in consumption expenditure and nutrition intake in Madhya Pradesh. In Figure 2, districts in the central region exhibit high consumption expenditure exceeding 1,638, with Vidisha and Sagar showing moderate growth rates. Other districts in the central region, including Bhopal, Sehore, Raisen, and Damoh, display high growth rates in consumption expenditure. The primary reason for the central region’s performance is the exceptional agricultural production and productivity in the Malwa region, resulting in increased income and higher consumption expenditure.

In the Vindhya region, the average calorie intake is 2,578 kcal. However, Sidhi and Singrauli districts have low growth rates, possibly due to a shift from basic to high-value food products like milk and non-vegetarian items. In contrast, the Anuppur, Shahdol, Umaria, Panna, Rewa, and Satna districts show moderate growth rates, while the Chhatarpur and Tikamgarh districts demonstrated high growth rates in calorie intake.

Madhya Pradesh, a major producer of pulses, records an average protein intake of 78.71 gm in the Northern region. Some districts like Sheopur, Morena, and Gwalior have low growth rates, while Datia and Bhind exhibit moderate growth rates. Shivpuri, Guna, and Ashok Nagar districts reveal high growth rates of protein intake in the northern region, likely due to improved wages and employment opportunities.

Notably, the central region, with an average fat intake of 60.29 gm, lacks districts with low growth rates. However, the Sagar, Damoh, and Sehore districts show moderate growth rates, while the Vidisha, Bhopal, and Raisen districts exhibit high growth rates in fat intake, suggesting increased oil consumption and dining outside the home in the central region of Madhya Pradesh.

This study reveals that sustained livelihood means have not been uniformly achieved in Madhya Pradesh, and there are disparities in food availability in certain districts despite government policy efforts.

Table 5 presents the results of a two-stage feasible generalized least square regression, examining the determinants of the monthly per capita consumption expenditure and the calorie, protein, and fat intake in Madhya Pradesh. The findings align with existing literature, highlighting significant determinants’ effects on these variables. Older individuals tend to have lower consumption expenditure and reduced calorie, protein, and fat intake, reflecting a lack of social security. Larger households tend to spend more on consumption and consume more food. Households with agricultural land have lower consumption expenditure but higher nutrition intake. Those with ration cards consume more calories, protein, and fat. Higher education levels of the household head positively influence consumption expenditure, and increased income leads to changes in dietary habits, including higher fat intake.

Table 5: Identification of determinants of household consumption expenditure and nutrition intake in Madhya Pradesh (two-stage FGLS regression results)

Notes: *, **, and *** show the significant at 10, 5, and 1 per cent levels of significance; figures in parentheses are standard error of respective coefficients.

 

Conclusion

The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda reaffirms its commitment to eradicate poverty (SDG 1) and end hunger while improving nutrition (SDG 2). This study examined changes in consumption expenditure and nutrition intake over time, performed a comparative analysis across regions, and identified influential factors in Madhya Pradesh, utilizing 2011-12 NSS unit-level household consumption expenditure data. Results show varying trends; calorie, protein, and fat intake decreased in rural areas in 2004-05, partially due to diet diversification from 1993-94 to 2009-10. In urban areas, fat intake increased with soya and palm oil imports, while protein intake marginally decreased in 2004-05 and 2011-12. Notably, calorie intake increased between 2009-10 and 2011-12, indicating a Pareto improvement in India. In the northern region of the state, Shivpuri, Guna, and Ashok Nagar exhibited a high protein intake growth rate due to improved wages and employment. The results of a two-stage feasible generalized least square model align with existing literature, showing significant determinants' effects. Older individuals have lower consumption expenditure and reduced calorie, protein, and fat intake due to limited social security. Larger households spend more on consumption, especially food. Ration cardholder’s intake more calories, protein, and fat, attributed to the Public Distribution System, while education positively influences consumption expenditure. Increasing income leads to changes in dietary habits, including higher fat intake.

The government should target the expenditure on social security to the young and elderly people in different districts of the state. The pulses should be brought under the PDS and government should target the region-specific policies which target the lagged regions of the states which replicate the success stories of the advanced ones.

Jaspal Singh(punjabimatti82@gmail.com) is a Consultant at NITI Aayog, New Delhi Tanima Dutta(tanimadutta@gmail.com) is a Professor in the Department of Economics at Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, Shilpi Kapoor(shilpikapoor39@gmail.com) is a Research Associate at ICAR-National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, New Delhi, Anupama Rawat(anupamasuresh1@gmail.com) is a Professor of Public Policy at RCVP Noronha Academy of Administration and Management, Bhopal, and Nirmal Singh(nirmalpakho19@gmail.com)is a Research Scholar at Barkatullah University Bhopal.
3 December 2023