Monthly income up, so Indian families spend more on housing, healthcare

The decadal survey of income and expenditure in working-class families in the country, released here on Friday by Minister of State for Labour and Employment Oscar Fernandes, reveals increased spending by families on housing, education, healthcare, transport and communication.

The "Working Class Family Income and Expenditure Survey 1999-2000" an update on the survey of 1981-82, and used as a guide to salary allowances for workers, also shows rise in average monthly incomes per family, at constant prices, from Rs 810 in 1982 to Rs 1,486. The per-capita income change at constant prices is Rs 333 over Rs 183.

The average prevailing income per family and per capita in 1999-2000 has, however, been reported at Rs 6,466 and Rs 1,448 respectively by the survey.

The average monthly expenditure per family at prevailing prices during the survey period has been recorded at Rs 4,951. At constant prices, the average expenditure has been put down at Rs 1,138 for 1999-2000 against Rs 778 in the previous decade.

From the expenditure category, food remains the biggest expense for families but has dropped in terms of total expenditure percentages from 56.95 per cent in the last decade to 47.48 per cent for the survey period.

Expenditure on housing has risen to 16.01 per cent as against 9.84 per cent in the survey held during 1981-82, the Minister said. Medical expenses have risen from 2.54 per cent to 4.54 per cent, education from 3.15 per cent to 6.19 per cent, and transport and communication from 2.69 per cent to 5.25 per cent.

With increasing demand for readymade clothing, expenses on clothing in general had dropped from 10.03 per cent to 4.99 per cent the survey has revealed.

The percentage of families with outstanding debts in the country had also dropped between the survey period of 1982 and 2000 from 50.17 per cent to 38.11 per cent. The average amount of outstanding debt per indebted family at current prices was Rs 22,920 at current prices and at Rs 5,269 from constant prices of 1982, Fernandes said.

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