Economic survey projects the official version of the state of the economy. The economic budget is usually presented a day before the annual budget  and thus acts as a precursor to the budget. 

The economic survey of 2020 has introduced a new term “thalinomics” which is the economics of a plate of food in India. Thalinomics is the most convenient way of relating economics with the common man by using the plate of food that an ordinary man consumes every day. 

The survey of thalinomics takes into consideration all the 28 states and the different meals that the ordinary man consumes in that state.  It takes into account each component like pulses, cereals, vegetables and even the spices that are used for garnishing; for example, turmeric,cumin and garlic. After covering all these factors, the price of a plate of food was calculated. Thalinomics was an attempt to quantify what a common man pays for a thali across India. The survey says that the absolute price of a vegetarian thali has decreased since 2015-16 across India but the price has increased during 2019-20.

An average household having 5 individuals and consuming 2 vegetarian thalis a day has benefitted individuals by Rs.10,000 on an annual basis. On the other hand, an average household that consumes 2 non vegetarian thalis has gained approximately Rs. 12,000 on an average per year during the same period. The affordability of vegetarian thali has improved by 29% and that of non-vegetarian thali has improved by 18%.

Last year during April to October, the most affordable thali was available in the state of Jharkhand. Two vegetarian thalis for a household of five in Jharkhand required about 25% of a worker’s daily wage. After a thorough comparison, it was concluded that the vegetarian thali in Jharkhand cost a little over Rs. 20 while a non-vegetarian thali cost as low as Rs. 35. In contrast, the survey brought to notice that Kerala was the most expensive state for a plate of vegetarian thali which costs around Rs. 30 in 2019 and Puducherry was the costliest for a plate of non-vegetarian food whose price was close to Rs. 50. This price was almost 1.43 times of that of the price of non-vegetarian thali available in Jharkhand.

Kanchan Sharma

Batch 2019-21

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