Families are spending more than half of their monthly spend on non-food items on an average, data from the National Sample Survey for 2011-12 show.

This is true for rural as well as urban households; families bought over 51 per cent of non-food items in their monthly bills worth Rs.1,430 in rural areas and about 62 per cent out of an urban monthly spend of Rs.2,630.

Back in 1993-94, Indian families’ non-food bill was almost 37 per cent in rural areas and about 45 per cent in urban areas.

Officials of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) explained that although the percentage of food to non-food expense, as part of the overall household bill, had tilted over the decade, people’s absolute consumption of food had increased over the years; however, the consumption pattern of food sub-groups such as cereals had somewhat changed.

The household consumer expenditure break-up is part of two sets of data (“key indicators”) that Chief Statistician of India and Secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, T. C. A. Anant, released here on Thursday. He earlier addressed a two-day seminar for statisticians and policy-makers organised by the Bangalore outfit of the NSSO .

Dr. Anant said the country had added almost 14 million to its workforce between 2009 and 2011-12. It increased from about 459 million in January 1, 2010 to 472.9 million by January 1, 2012. Unemployment rate was 2 per cent at the all-India level and rural areas; and 3 per cent in urban regions.

As per the household spending data, only about 10 per cent of the urban population reported an MPCE (monthly per capita expenditure) above Rs.4,610.

Non-food categories span tobacco/cigarettes and ‘pan’, fuel, light, clothing, bedding, footwear, education, medical bills, entertainment and durable goods.

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