Some Aspects of the Structure of Consumer Demand for Foodgrains in India
The study analyses the changes in consumption pattern of foodgrains in India during 1960-61 to 1973-74 using data from NSS rounds. The changes in per capita consumption levels, consumer price, expenditures on foodgrains, income distribution and relevant elasticities are analysed. The analysis also covers the difference in demand pattern according to urbanisation, income groups, and commodity composition of foodgrains. The analysis indicates a fall in the per capita consumption of cereals. This fall can be partially explained by the changes in the prices and income levels over this period. The changes in income distribution indicate no decline in the percentage to low income consumers in rural areas. There had been a tendency among consumers belonging to the low income groups to increase the share of coarse grains in the total consumption of cereals. Though there had been an overall reduction in the per capita consumption levels of the cereals, this reduction was least for consumers belonging to the low income groups in urban areas. This result indicates that the public distribution system, in urban areas has made some contributions in maintaining the consumption levels of the low-income groups. The study also raises some reservations on the desirability of depending on growth linkages of agricultural development as the major policy measure for improving the consumption levels of the poor.
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