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Sunday, June 21, 2009

There are three kinds of lies.....

Just back from my weekly vegetable and grocery shopping with heavy bulging bags and a much lighter wallet.

I have this habit of keeping a note of my daily expenditure in a diary.

While turning the pages of the diary to make today's entry, the diary opened to the date 12th May 2007, when I'd bought, amongst other things, 10kgs rice for Rs.150 (@Rs.15/kg) and the week's vegetables for Rs.163.

Today's entry for the same items are Rs. 325 and Rs.398 respectively.

Exactly two years and every eatable on the supermarket shelves has doubled or tripled and yet the Economic Times has been gleefully celebrating every Thursday morning that inflation is -0.1%.

Is this what is meant by "lies, damned lies and statistics!!"


38 comments:

Aniket said...

And this is exactly the reason I don't keep journals about my expenses. They only make me sad later. lol

naperville mom said...

Interesting, SGD! Gosh, do they really claim negative figures for inflation?:)

Ugich Konitari said...

I am always cynical when they go all ga-ga over some percentages in economics. Way back, in my childhood, I dont remember any newspapers etc reporting 0.1% changes in anything . The real indication of the state of the economy was (a) whether the stuff was freely available, (b) whether people had enough change to give back to you, and (c) the price of a bunch of coriander leaves. All this inflation reporting is just like giving excuses, and fooling people into believing that someone is dong something about it.

French beans 80Rs a kilo ? ....

Pradip Biswas said...

It shall be better if any economist throws light on this. The figures tremble us who are planning to retire and have no pension like me. But has this inflation index taken into account GDP and increase of income of individuals. True that price of every thing has doubled. But Rs 163 was what % of your income then and todays Rs 398 is what% of your current income including every thing? But certainly people those income stagnated or decreased due to decrease of Bank interest in FD which is the only source of income are the worst hit. If I retire next year which my children are asking on and on shall be worst hit. There are people who are worser than this.

sujata said...

You are so like my husband on this..he takes great pleasure in keep such a diary and a very well tabulated one at that, which ends up in an even more horrrifying looking excel sheet at the end of the year. What I take pleasure in is visiting the diary and smiling at entries like waldorf dinner park street may 98 Rs 160/-

HR said...

Rightly you said!! Like you, I bore the brunt of the situation when I found I was shelling out a lot more to get the same amount of daily needs. I never miss to check the inflation rate being published in Times of India on every Friday. To my surprise I found that the inflation rates were continuously falling albeit the prices of vegetables and groceries were increasing in unfettered manner.Is it a mockery of the economic system? I was confounded.
Having very little knowledge in economics it may not be proper on my part to comment on the lacunae in calculation of inflation rate.But one thing is clear that inflation is expressed in terms rate, so it always has a denominator. The more the denominator the less the rate of inflation.However a naive person like me can always raise doubts on methodology in fixing the denominator. I came to understand from a newspaper article that inflation rate is a maze of wholesale price index(WPI) and retail price index(RPI). The prices of food grains, milk products, edible oils etc. etc. come under the territory of RPI. Unfortunately the effect of RPI on calculation of inflation rate is so trifling that it has no bearing on the actual rates. The salaried people where dearness allowance(DA) is one of the main constituents of salary are worst sufferers. It may be noted that the DA allowed for Govt. or PSU employees are calculated based on inflation rates.
This is purely my way of perceiving the aspect. Perhaps with almost negligible knowledge in economics my explanations are likely to be improper.
I feel SD can throw light on the issue and clear the paradox emanated in our mind.
Nice posting.... keep it up...

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

great organization! And very good observation! Wish the govt would come up with a good answer!
Btw, what kind of diary is this that it dates back 2 years?! (sorry for sounding totally ignorant!)

SSQuo said...

You keep track of your expenses. You are GOD!

I know what you mean, its crazy right, soon you'll be saying like my dad does 'in the olden days....we used to get a kilo of rice for....'.:)

PS: Nice writing! I like that you have flowers on your list.

Vivek Patwardhan said...

Liked your post and as always you made point very effectively.

I have no complaints about doubling of prices. I have a BIG complaint about not having my salary doubled [every year]! :)

Vivek

Dev said...

Really a nice stuff and its awesome !

Regards.

DevPalmistry |Lines tell the story of ur life

Rush said...

yes..the price of the commodities has rocketed..a good bet in the stock mkt to fight the inflation!!

SGD said...

@Aniket-And makes me feel quite prehistoric too!! ;)

@Naperville M-Guess what...it today's ET there was a front page artice on Retail & WholeSale Price Indices and that the former is on an upward trend again after several months!!!!

@Ugich-Right you are...these days the media has made a circus of everything...so many facts and figures are being churned out & mouthed daily....but sadly reality is another ballgame altogether!

SGD said...

@Pradip B-Unfortunately in the past one year and the next year, we all shall be content to have some job to go to without aspiring for increments and hikes!! All around people are losing jobs and left helpless...
So the income is and will be constant in the months to come but prices of basic amenities are sky rocketing!!

@Sujata-I started this habit, urged on by my father, way back in 1993 when i started living in a hostel...and yes, lately i too have got into the habit of storing them in excel sheets...but the procastrinator that i am, the conversion from hard to soft copy keeps getting piled up.
And you bet, the decade old figures do make me feel ancient...from a bygone era. I remember petrol in as recent as 2003 cost Rs.28/- a litre!!!!!

SGD said...

@HR-Fully agree..the Index is actually the increase/decrease over corresponding period last yr!!

@Roshni-Oh it's not a diary kind of diary...it's more a hardbound notebook kind with 5 partitions...
And in this one, I;ve started tabulating since 2006!!! ;))

@SSQuo-Ha ha ha!!! Am I...but where's the halo?? ;)
Oh yes...on seeing the prices i do feel like saying those Dad-like things!!

@Vivek P-Thanks! Wouldnt that be [i]loverly[/i]...but alas....*sigh*

SGD said...

@Dev-Thanks...and welcome to my blog!
Peeped into your palmistry blog...interesting!

@Rush-Are your the bull-bear follower? That's totally alien territory for me....

HR said...

yeah!! it is a comparison with corresponding period of last year.. in that case the inflation rate is going to increase in forthcoming months..since ...last year the inflation rate started decreasing from July onwards.. if I correctly remember...

Swatantra said...

cute post!! i too have a habit of carrying a list to the market.. It helps!!

Your blog is interesting!!

Sapna Anu B.George said...

Very interesting piece of information and good concept too.

Reflections said...

SGD....everytime I go to India I turn into a total kanjoos....I still live in tht world were bread was Rs.4.75, LPG gas was Rs.70 & school fees was rs.85;-o.

The curious thing is I have no problems spending in the country I reside, where the prices are much higher than wht it is in India;-/.

Reflections said...

And Parle G was rs.1.25

;-D

Deeps said...

that was an eye opener. where is this world heading???

Chakra said...

Actually the Inflation figure is taken Year on Year for the week - i.e. what the prices of commodities were exactly one year back for the same week , wrt present week.
This negative inflation may mean several things, such as - Prices this year are low, or the prices were suddenly high exactly a year back or so on.
Further , different commodities, including steel, crude etc also have diffent weightage in calculation of price index. And most of these facts are effectively disguised by using a common wrapper - named - 'Inflation' . Thus Inflation figure is usefull for businessmen for planning and useful for politicians to fool around with masses.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

I, too, keep journals (hisheber khata)and the random multiplication of expenses pain me no end!

SGD said...

@Swatantra- It does....otherwise half the things are forgotten!! ;)
Thanks for stopping by....

@Sapna-Thanks!

@Reflections-He he he!! Dont remind me of those days...now the prices of those items are Rs.20/-, Rs.305 & anywhere between Rs.1000-6000/-(for a 3 yrs old!!!!!!!) respectively....dont you feel almost ancient!! ;)))

SGD said...

@Deeps...to a world where only the very rich & very poor have unchanging lifestyles and the middle class becomes the real sufferers!!

@Chakra-Right you are...they are just figures to fool us !!!

@Sucharita-I know what you mean...*sigh*

indira mukerjee (ইন্দিরা মুখার্জি) said...

SGD, tomar puro nam janio...thanks for visiting my blog..your blog is too good. tumi jante cheyecho tai boli,BECTI TEFLORA OTG or MIROWAVE e kore dekhini ...nonstick pan e khub taratari hoy ar eto soft fish je OTG te bodh hoy besi soft hoye jabe...ar microwave e leaf er colour ta thik green thakbe na ...so try this in nonstick pan...

Rajesh said...

The inflation is calculated based on spending capacity of millionaires and who get things for free. Hence it is low.

Little Girl Lost said...

my advice to you sarmistha is to quit this practice of keeping hisheb... then you can live in blissful oblivion like the rest of us :)

Aparna said...

I don't keep a journal. I end up getting depressed. But I remember the year I learned to drive,(1990...my gosh so many years ago) the petrol was about Rs 12 a lire and my dad used to rant at me for wasting it. I loved driving and took the car out at every opportunity.

ZiLliOnBiG said...

Rightly said, My dad also has similar list, but i am too lazy.

Thats horrible, doubled in 2 years, what about the common man, and congress says aam admi. What a paradox...First time to your blog, from sucharita's, nice space you have.Keep blogging:))

Reflections said...

u didnt mention Parle G...how much is Parle G????
...I used to very fond of tht biscuit.....do u knw we get the export quality Parle G here in Dubai...from India I mean;-D.

And yeah I do feel ancient;-(!!!!

Mahesh Sindbandge said...

I agree with aniket but non other side, it reminds us of old times....

everything gets a refreshing look , once at least... doesnt it?

BTW, y do u keep 2 years long calculations ? they are pretty old, aren't they?

SGD said...

@Indira M-Recipe tar jonno thanks...ami kore apnake nishchoyee feedback debo.

@Rajesh-Right you are!!!

@LGL-Ha ha ha!!

@Aparna--YOu're talking about the 90s...as recent as mid 2003, petrol was Rs.29/-!! :(

SGD said...

@ZillionBig-Thanks & welcome to my blog! This aam admi thing is an eyewash...just see just about a month or so in office, and petrol/diesel prices up, subsidies may be removed, and all these will result in further sky high prices!
Things are going from bad to worse...*sigh*

@Reflections-WIll surely find out the beloved Parle G price and let u know!!;)))

Sujata said...

Interesting SGD.

Vishwanath Seshadri said...

I am impressed !!!!!

With many things and I list them below:

1. The number of comments on this post.. Looks like you have touched a chord in peoples minds. Also, it seems that you have a very popular blogspot :)

2. The fact that you keep such minute records and retain it over a period of time.

3. You manage a household with a fairly tight rope :)

On a lighter vein, I feel the reason for the increase in expenses is simply increase in consumption !!! :))

On a serious note, the inflation index does not include day to day consumption items. It is always a challenge to get the right number of commodities to accurately represent the change.. It is like the rainfall - gets recorded in a few specific places and it is presumed that it is a representative sample !!

cheers and keep blogging

Vish

Ushnish Ghosh said...

apart from damn lies and statistics, It also means " with your feet in the refrigerator and head in the oven,on an average you are comfortable". The inflation rate fig is just to make you comfortable or panicky either way

The knife said...

I can so identify this. I was shocked the other day when they said that a dozen eggs was close to thirty bucks. Used to cost three when I was a kid