Amid increasing pointers to a slowdown in the hinterland,the Government is planning to conduct its Sixth Economic Census in collaboration with states during the course of this year. The focus,for the first time ever,will be on gathering entrepreneurial data at village and ward level,especially for unorganised sectors of the economy.
This comes at a time when increasing sluggishness in rural demand,mainly on account of prolonged high inflationary spell that lasted well over 20 months,threatens to aggravate the slowdown in the broader economy.
The information on establishments collected during the census,while providing an updated frame for detailed follow-up surveys,will also provide entrepreneurial data at the village and ward levels for planning and development,especially for unorganised sector of the economy, an official with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation,which is overseeing the process,said.
The move could be instrumental in mapping the rural economy,which is home to two-thirds of the population.
According to Plan of the Census scheme,the Ministry of Statistics plans to release the Quick Results within 60 days of completion of field work by states and the All-India report within one year of completion of field work.
The census will cover all establishments or enterprises engaged in various economic activities both in the organised and unorganised sectors of the economy.
Most economists maintain that buoyant rural demand,which is cited as one of the main reasons why the Indian economy emerging largely unscathed in the aftermath of the 2008 global economic crisis,is key to a revival in the countrys growth prospects.
While a decade ago,less than 40 per cent of the aggregate net value added came from industries in rural areas,estimates from the Annual Survey of Industries for all registered manufacturing units suggest that the share climbed to almost 50 per cent by 2009-10,indicating greater direct repercussions of an industrial slowdown on rural India. Rural sales make up close to one-third of overall revenue for Indias Rs 1.5 trillion consumer goods industry,according to market estimates.
Latest sales data from two-wheeler makers,especially scooters and mopeds,and consumer goods manufacturers,bears out the rural slowdown theory. Estimates released by Nielsen a market research company that tracks consumer trends too corroborates the trend. While rural demand growth outpaced urban demand for four consecutive quarters,the tide has turned in the three months ended 30 June last year.
According to a Nielsen report,which covered the trend
for sales by volume of shampoos and toothpastes,in the three months ended September 30,for toothpastes,volume growth in urban areas was 11 per cent against 9 per cent in villages while for shampoos,the demand in cities at 21 per cent was 10 percentage points higher than in the hinterland.