Making an attempt to quantify what a common person pays for a 'thali' across India, the Economic Survey on Friday said affordability of vegetarian 'thalis' improved by 29 per cent while that of non-vegetarian by 18 per cent during the 2006-07 and 2019-20 period. Dedicating a full chapter on "Through 'Thalinomics -- The Economics of a Plate of Food in India", the survey tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman analysed data from the Consumer Price Index for industrial workers for around 80 centres in 25 states/Union Territories from April 2006 to October 2019 to arrive at the cost of a 'thali'.
As per the survey, a vegetarian thali comprises a serving of cereals, 'sabzi and dal' and the non-vegetarian thali comprises of cereals, sabzi and a non-vegetarian component.
"Both across India and the four regions – north, south, east and west – it is found that the absolute prices of a vegetarian thali have decreased significantly since 2015-16 though the price has increased in 2019," it said.
As a result, the survey said, "An average household of five individuals that eats two vegetarian thalis a day gained around Rs 10,887 on average per year while a non-vegetarian household gained Rs 11,787, on average, per year."
Using the annual earnings of an average industrial worker, it is found that affordability of vegetarian thalis improved 29 per cent from 2006-07 to 2019-20 while that for non-vegetarian thalis improved by 18 per cent, it added.
The survey claimed that 2015-16 could be considered as a year when there was a shift in dynamics of thali prices.
Many reform measures were introduced since 2014-15 to enhance the productivity of the agriculture sector as well as efficiency and effectiveness of agricultural markets for better and more transparent price discovery," the survey said.