Indians spend more on religious services than sanitation -Dipti Jain

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published Published on Jul 8, 2016   modified Modified on Jul 8, 2016
-Livemint.com

This preference for spending on religious services than sanitation extends across income and spatial divides

Cleanliness is next to godliness—or so we are told. In India, cleanliness actually ranks several notches below godliness on the priority list.

A recent report by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) shows that Indians are willing to spend more on religious services than on sanitation, irrespective of spatial and income divide.

The survey, findings of which were released last week, was conducted between July 2014 and June 2015. This report gives a break-up of spending on 14 miscellaneous consumer services. These are domestic services, barber and beauty shops, TV and radio services, laundry and dry cleaning, repair and maintenance, communication, religious services, recreational and cultural services, cremation-related services, business services, tailoring, car parking, coolie/porter and toll charges, and sewage disposal and sanitation. The list does not include important categories of health and education.

As per the report, of the total monthly per capita expenditure spent on miscellaneous consumer services, religious services accounted for almost 9% in rural areas, as against a mere 0.22% on sewage disposal and sanitation. Urban India spent 5.7% of its monthly per capita expenditure on religious services, while expenses on sanitation stood at 0.45% only. These percentage shares are vis-à-vis the total spending on consumer services and not the overall monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE). Giving absolute numbers can provide more clarity on this.

In absolute numbers, MPCE on religious services was Rs.12.83 and Rs.22.15, respectively, in rural and urban India. Corresponding expenditure on sewage disposal and sanitation was Rs.0.31 and Rs.1.76, respectively. Total MPCE (by Uniform Recall Period) figures for rural and urban India in 2011-12 were Rs.1,279 and Rs.2,400, respectively. The total amount spent on all services, according to the latest survey, was Rs.331.75 and Rs.819.36 in rural and urban areas, respectively.

Previous rounds by NSSO do not provide similar data to enable comparison.

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Livemint.com, 8 July, 2016, http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/drkLF7lDhBPGmbzZdmIkHJ/Indians-spend-more-on-religious-services-than-sanitation.html


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