"Writing and speaking about the matters where they don't shed light, I'm always on my toes to bring out the untold, unheard stories from the background of Economy and Defense."
An alternative data of the National Statistical Office (NSO) its survey report on household consumption expenditure for 2017-18, which the organisation withheld in its annual report, points at a slowdown in consumption of pulses and milk.
At a global Pulses, Conclave held earlier this month in Pune, it was observed that the consumption of pulses in India is flattening. It rose from 18.6 million tonnes (mt) to 22.5 mt between 2013-14 and 2017-18. It, however, fell to 22.1 mt in 2018-19 and is expected to further slip to 20.7 mt this year.
The period between 2015-16 and 2016-17 recorded a drop in consumption alongside double-digit inflation in pulses. The consumption in 2017-18 was at its peak when prices actually fell 20.8 per cent every year.
"We need a National Egg Coordination Committee-like body for pulses to push consumption. The campaign they launched in the 1980s helped in positioning egg as a wholesome nutrition food. The time has come for a similar sustained drive promoting pulses as an excellent source of protein, micronutrients and fibre that is also low-fat and cholesterol-free," Saurabh Bhartia of the Indian Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) told The Indian Express.
Apart from pulses, the National Dairy Development Board data also shows that total milk marketing by cooperatives has risen from 201.03 lakh litres per day (LLPD) in 2008-09 to 294.44 LLPD in 2013-14. This figure reached 354.53 LLPD in 2018-19.
The compound annual growth rate (CAGR), which was 7.9 per cent from 2008-09 to 2013-14, fell to 3.8 per cent in the past five years.
Even as the increase in milk sales from 2013-14 to 2018-19 (60.09 LLPD) was hardly two-thirds of the past five years (93.41 LLPD), it occurred despite lower inflation.
Between the period of 2008-09 and 2013-14, prices of full-cream milk in Delhi rose from about ₹24 to ₹46 per litre. However, in the next five years until March 2019, the increase was only to ₹52 per litre.
Interestingly, the deceleration in milk sales had occurred when India's milk production went up from 137.7 mt in 2013-14 to 187.7 mt in 2018-19.
The stagnation in consumption trend in both milk and pulses is largely affected by incomes and wages, which are also stagnant for the past few years, especially in rural areas. The poorer sections of society still cannot afford to spend on "superior" foods.
The average annual growth of wages in rural India during 2014-15 to 2018-19 was a mere 5.3 per cent in nominal terms. The NSO report for 2011-12 had revealed that the daily per capita consumption of milk and dairy products rose more sharply in rural (from 128.87 ml to 144.43 ml) than in urban India (170.23 ml to 180.73 ml) since 2004-2005.
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