With rising incomes, working Indians are spending more on housing, education, healthcare, transport and communication than they did previously.
While the average monthly income has risen from Rs 810, in 1982, to Rs 1,486, in 1999-2000, the average family expenditure, at constant prices, has increased to Rs 1,138 in 1999-2000, against Rs 778 a decade ago.
Constant prices are based on prices and conditions of 1981-82 and are used to analyse real growth or change in living conditions.
According to a survey by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, as much as 41 per cent of working class families live in independent houses. The expenditure on housing has risen to 16.01 per cent as against 9.84 per cent, at constant prices, in 1981-82.
“A lot of credit for growth in working class housing goes to the Centre’s tax incentives given over the last seven to eight years,” said Renu Sud Karnad, joint managing director, HDFC.
The survey also found that between 1982 and 1999-2000, the average size of a family has decreased (from 4.5 to 4.46), while the number of earning dependants has increased (0.18 to 0.32) and non-earning dependants has decreased (3.1 to 3).
Food continued to remain the biggest expense for families but now consumes a lesser amount of the total expenditure. From 56.95 per cent in the last decade, it now forms 47.48 per cent of total expenses.
Medical expenses have increased from 2.54 per cent to 4.54 per cent, while education costs have risen from 3.15 per cent to 6.19 per cent. Medical expenses have risen from 2.54 per cent to 4.54 per cent and education from 3.15 per cent to 6.19 per cent.
Clothing expenses have seen a sharp drop — from 10.03 per cent to 4.99 per cent — with more demand for readymade garments. The percentage of families with debts has dropped from 50.17 per cent in 1982 to 38.11 per cent.
(With inputs from Srinivasalu Reddy)