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Rich, literate shun surveys, finds study

Last updated on: July 29, 2011 11:34 IST
The literate section of the population responding to the questionnaire was found to be less cooperative compared to the illiterate lot, says a research done by Ankush and Tushar Aggarwal of the Institute of Economic Growth and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research.

The findings of the study on the qualitative aspect of the consumption expenditure based on the 61st round of NSSO results was shared at a seminar on national sample surveys on Thursday.

The seminar noted the trend was worrisome, as the highly educated should be able to communicate more effectively and efficiently with the surveyors.

Per capita income and cooperation were also seen to be negatively related.

Similarly, the rich were less cooperative during a survey, while the poor households were more polite. Respondents from Bihar and Jharkhand were found to be more co-operative than respondents from other states.

Contrary to the belief that heads of the family was better equipped to provide more useful information, the report said the non-head respondents were more co-operative with the surveyors.

Two-third of respondents in rural areas was illiterate, compared to one-fourth
of respondents in urban areas.

About 25 per cent of the total respondents from rural and urban areas were termed by the surveyors as "cooperative but not capable".

It said the 25 per cent may unknowingly provide information that may not be close to the reality, affecting the quality of the survey.

The classification was done according to the surveyor's perception of the capabilities of respondents.

The paper said 90-minute surveys take a toll on respondents and suggested reducing the time without adversely affecting the quality of the survey.

A second study presented at the seminar said the non-response rate, computed as the ratio of the number of households 'not capable' of reporting information properly to the total number of households surveyed, was lowest in Kerala (11.09 per cent in rural and 9.44 per cent in urban) and highest in Jharkhand (63.01 per cent for rural and 55.58 per cent for urban).

More than 50 per cent of the non-capable responses came from the 'self-employed' category in rural areas, while in urban India 40 per cent of self-employed were not capable of responding.