ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Deepening Divides

Changes in the incidence of vegetarianism across time are sought to be analysed by identifying the specific trends at the level of region,caste and class. Divergence in the attitude towards vegetarianism across these axes points towards deepening divides linked to socioeconomic status and cultural-political power inequalities.

Is Periodic Labour Force Survey, 2017–18 Comparable with Employment–Unemployment Survey, 2011–12?

Towards improving the existing system of collecting data on socio-economic parameters, the National Sample Survey Office introduced the Periodic Labour Force Survey in 2017–18 by replacing its previous quinquennial rounds on the employment–unemployment situation. There has been a significant restructuring of the previously existing questionnaire, survey methodology, and inquiry schedule. The advantages of the new PLFS data are listed, and inputs for further improvements are provided.

'Provincialising' Vegetarianism

Large-scale survey data are used to question the most public claims about food habits in India. It is found that the extent of overall vegetarianism is much less—and the extent of overall beef-eating much more—than suggested by common claims and stereotypes. The generalised characterisations of “India” are deepened by showing the immense variation of food habits across scale, space, group, class, and gender. Additionally, it is argued that the existence of considerable intra-group variation in almost every social group (caste, religious) makes essentialised group identities based on food practices deeply problematic. Finally, in a social climate where claims about food practices rationalise violence, cultural–political pressures shape reported and actual food habits. Indian food habits do not fit into neatly identifiable boxes.

India's 'Poverty of Numbers'

The number of "poor" derived by applying price adjustment to an old consumption basket, which is largely what official poverty measures have done, are very different from estimates based on actual consumption baskets that have changed over time. For instance, the share of cereals in household expenditure halved between 1993-94 and 2011-12 in rural areas. In the light of this, we ask if all expenditure would be on food, what percentage of the population would be unable to meet the prescribed calorie requirement? Adding a "minimum" level of expenditure on clothing-bedding-footwear, fuel and light, and conveyance to the "derived" sum of food expenditure provides a second counterfactual. Similarly, the cumulative addition of expenditure on other consumer goods and services provides further counterfactual scenarios.

Importance of Landowning Non-cultivating Households

There is an increasing importance of landowning households that do not cultivate and a significant presence of urban households owning rural land, which constrains the growth of the agrarian economy, as such households have low incentives to invest in agriculture, and tend to use land for residential purposes, reducing the cropped area. Agricultural labour households tend to lease in land and become cultivators.

Agrarian Question in India

Using the latest National Sample Survey Office data on land distribution and use, questions of agrarian change in India are revisited. With reducing landholding size in general, the increasing unviability of such small plots, and increasing numbers of "effectively" landless households, the larger questions of employment and sectoral shifts are flagged. There is still no clear transition away from agriculture.
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