Studying 2020 festive mood now possible

Data for monthly income and monthly expenses for the month of October 2020 were released on March 1, 2021. i.e. the day immediately after the collection of this data ended as scheduled, on February 28, 2021.

Data on income earned and expenses incurred during a given month is collected over a four-month period beginning in the month following the month for which the data is being collected. As a result, data corresponding to income earned and expenses incurred in the month of October 2020 were collected in the months of November 2020, December 2020, January 2021 and February 2021.

Household income and expenses data for October 2020 are available for 130,334 households. The sample size was 175,413 households. The release also includes incomes of 651,863 members of the sample households. Member-wise data is collected along with the household income and expenses data.

Highest post-lockdown response rate

The response rate for monthly income and expenses for the month of September 2020 was 73.2 percent. This was the highest response rate for any monthly series released since the onset of the lockdown. The response rate for the October 2020 monthly series breaks that record.

As with the September monthly series, 1,008 households were not available to survey because these are a part of an exercise that was initiated in January 2021 to increase the sample. Such households are included in the sample but not available yet to survey because this is still work in progress.

Considering only those households that were available to survey, the overall response rate for households slotted for execution in February 2021 was 78.96 percent. This is the highest monthly response rate on record since the lockdown.

Measuring the Exuberant Spending in the Pandemic

October usually marks the beginning of holiday spending. There are a confluence of religious holidays that also coincide with the beginning of the harvest of the kharif crop. In 2020, Hindu festivals across the country such as Dusshera, Durga Puja, Navratri all fell in October. Additionally, the kharif season was very plentiful. News reports from the time suggested some recovery in consumer spending. Indeed, CMIE’s Index of Current Economic Conditions saw a surge in October 2020 from the low forties to the early fiftes, after which it has remained mostly flat.

CMIE’s Index of Current Economic Conditions is derived using data collected as a part of the Consumer Pyramids Household Survey. With the release of the monthly income and expenses for the month of October 2020, researchers can now study the impact of the beginning of a good harvest on incomes, and the start of the festive season on consumption expenditure.

Coming off the back of a severe downturn, learning about this period will be critical to understanding the path to economic recovery.

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