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Rural Price Data

Bulletin on prices and wages in Rural India

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) has been collecting price data since its first round (1950-51). Along with the socio-economic surveys, wholesale and retail prices were being collected by the NSSO till the 13th round. These were collected from randomly selected Centres located in rural and urban areas.

NSSO discontinued collection of wholesale prices as well as retail prices for urban areas since the 14th round (1958-59). However, the rural retail prices have been collected every month. The data on rural retail prices thus collected are used for building up consumer price index (CPI) for agricultural labourers. At present the Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour, compiles and publishes the CPI for agricultural labourers.

In the NSS 16th round (1961-62), the schedule design and the sample for collection of rural retail prices were modified. Since then, rural prices for 129 commodities were being collected through Schedule 3.01(R)  from a fixed set of 419 villages till the NSS 41st round (1984-85) with a view to reflect the price changes in respect of the current consumption pattern of the agricultural labourers, a new commodity basket consisting of 260 commodities was adopted in 1986.

The collection of price data for the new commodity basket are now being done every month from a fixed set of 603 village-market spread over 21 states using schedule 3.01(R). At present the number of states has increased to 24 including 3 newly created states, although number of markets and items remain the same.

Along with the price data for the new series, the daily wage rates of 18 major agricultural and non-agricultural occupations were also collected in Schedule 3.01(R). From October 2013 the wage schedule underwent some changes. As per the new format of wage schedule there are 25 occupations divided into two groups viz. ‘Agricultural and Non-agricultural occupations having 12 and 13 occupations respectively. Data on daily wage rates of important agricultural operations are reported by the State Governments on monthly basis, as per a scheme drawn up in 1950 by the DES, M/o Agriculture. These are compiled & published regularly by the Directorate of Economics & Statistics, M/O Agriculture, in “Agricultural Situation in India” and “Agricultural Wages in India”. For providing an alternative series of wage-rates data, the NSSO is compiling and publishing occupation-wise wage rates, based on the data collected in schedule 3.01(R).

This bulletin provides price data only at national level and wage data at national and state level only for twenty four major states. The monthly averages are not provided for the items for which number of quotations received are less than ten. However, for all the items, quarterly averages are given in the bulletin. The issue for the quarter ‘July-September, 2015’ has already been published.