Per capita income is an indicator of the earnings of the residents of a country and the latest estimates of national income for 2021-22 show a slow rise after livelihoods were ravaged by the pandemic-led lockdown of the economy.
It now emerges that the rise in per capita in the current year is lower than what was estimated before the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus struck. The decline in the current prices is small but when it is measured in constant 2011-12 prices, the dent is significant.
The National Statistical Office has estimated the per capita income for 2021-22 at Rs 1,49,848, measured at current prices, in the second advance estimates, which was nearly Rs 500 lower than Rs 1,50,326 projected in the first advance estimates in January.
The difference between the first and second advance estimates, measured at constant 2011-12 prices, was more than Rs 2,000. The NSO had estimated the per capita income, measured at constant 2011-12 prices, at Rs 93,973 in the projections made in January 2022. It has been lowered to Rs 91,723 in the second advance estimates after taking into account the impact of the Omicron variant and net earnings from overseas.
The latest estimates of per capita income, measured at constant 2011-12 prices, are not only below the levels of 2019-20, which is commonly referred to as the pre-pandemic year, but also lower than the levels of 2018-19 when it was Rs 92,133. The per capita income in 2019-20 was estimated at Rs 94,270 in the first revised estimates of national income published on January 31, 2022.
Significantly, while per capita income estimates were lowered between the first and second advance estimates, the per capita private final consumption expenditure (PFCE) was estimated to have risen, according to both measures of national incomes. PFCE is an indicator of how much households are spending on maintaining their standards of living. A rise in PFCE could be an indicator of rising household confidence in the economic conditions.At constant 2011-12 prices, the per capita PFCE is estimated to have risen to Rs 61,054 from Rs 59,043 projected in January. However, it continues to be lower than the levels estimated for the pre-pandemic year, when it was Rs 61,594. At current prices, the per capita PFCE is estimated to have risen from Rs 97,563 projected in January to Rs 102,476 in the second revised estimates, a jump of almost Rs 5,000.