In what could considered a scorecard of the UPA government’s policies on rural India over the last 10 years, two key reports on debt and investment as well as land holding patterns will be released by the National Sample Survey Office later this year.
Both, the All-India Debt and Investment Survey, and the Land and Livestock Holding Survey were last conducted in 2003. There have been a slew of developmental policies aimed at the rural areas, since the surveys were last conducted, including the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme as well as the farm loan waiver scheme.
But TCA Anant, chief statistician and secretary, ministry of statistics and programme implementation, said that the surveys cannot be used for a comparison of what has happened during the last 10 years. “Its significance is that it will provide a sense of understanding of what is happening in rural areas in terms of financial independence, indebtedness and farm holding patterns. These are the only such data sets available for the rural areas,” he said.
While data on financial status of urban households is available from the Reserve Bank of India through balance sheets of banks and non-banking finance institutions, the surveys are extremely significant for the inputs they provide on rural households.
“For instance, the land holding survey will give a situational assessment of farmers — how they are placed, what kind of lands they own,” he said. The two surveys cover all rural and urban households across the country and were carried between January and December 2013. “The reports will be released over the next few months,” he said.
The data, which provides reliable estimates of assets, liabilities and capital expenditure especially in the rural areas, will be useful for formulation of credit policies by financial institutions as well as working out development strategies by the government.