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What is Thalinomics ?

Tracking the Affordability of Basic Meals in India

13 May '24
2 min read


Thalinomics is a term coined by Nobel laureate economist Abhijit Banerjee and his wife, Esther Duflo, to describe the economics of the Indian thali (a traditional Indian meal consisting of a variety of dishes served on a platter). Thalinomics is a way to measure the affordability of a basic meal in India and track changes in the cost of living over time. The concept of "Thalinomics" was first introduced in the 2019-2020 Economic Survey of India. 

The concept of Thalinomics is simple: it calculates the cost of a basic thali meal in different parts of the country and uses it as a proxy for the cost of living. The idea is that if the cost of a basic meal is increasing, it's likely that the cost of living is also increasing.

For example, let's say a basic thali meal in a small town in India costs ₹50 (approximately $0.65 USD) and includes a serving of rice, lentils, vegetables, and a piece of fruit. If the cost of this meal increases to ₹60 (approximately $0.78 USD) over a year, it suggests that the cost of living in that area has increased by 20% (₹60 - ₹50 = ₹10, which is a 20% increase).

According to current data, the cost of a basic thali meal in India has been increasing steadily over the past few years. 

As of May 9, 2024, the cost of a home-cooked vegetarian meal in India has increased by 8% year-on-year in April. This is an increase from the 7% increases seen in February and March.

Thalinomics provides a unique and accessible way to understand the cost of living in India and how it affects the average person's daily life. By tracking the cost of a basic meal, Thalinomics offers insights into the broader trends in the economy and the impact of inflation on everyday people.

Category : Education


Written by Tushar Tembhurne

An aspirant making effort to project various dimensions of society through 📝