Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why does inflation have to be figured in, while calculating the Prasad classification?
Check the original Prasad classification. It would be difficult to reconcile that in the current time, a per capita monthly income of > Rs.100 should represent the HIGHEST income class. If you choose to use the Prasad classification, it makes sense to keep the income classes updated by taking inflation into consideration. You can read more about inflation on the Wikipedia page about it. It defines inflation as a persistent increase in the general price level of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.
What is the validity of the revision of Prasad’s social classification?
Validity of the real-time revised scale = Validity of the original scale + Some
The revision has not modified the classification (or the scoring) in any way. It just takes into consideration the concept of inflation for the income categories. Whatever is the validity of the Prasad’s social classification as a measure of socioeconomic status, use of the real-time update for the revision will increase the validity by some extent for certain.
Still, I mean I would trust the revision more, if the validity was established by some reputed name like WHO etc.
The only ‘update’ in the revision is in the income subscale. This update is linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figure. And these figures are updated and released by the Government of India monthly. So in a way, that is quite a robust source for validity!
Why the need for a web-based resource for updating the scale?
As the basic indicator for inflation is released monthly by the Govt. of India, the scale too changes monthly. It can only be kept relevant through a web-based calculator.
There have been print article updates of the Prasad’s social classification. Why can’t I just use any one of them? Why the need for an additional reference to a web resource?
If you understood the logic behind the answer to the FAQ1 above, i.e. why the original income categories cannot be used as it is in the current times, the same logic extends to the print updates too. As they are fixed in one point in time, they slowly lose their validity of income classification with time. The only way to take inflation into account is to take the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) value into consideration, which is possible by using a web-based calculator. You can check this article for further explanation.
So, in a nutshell, what is the need for a ‘real-time update’?
- If you have selected the Prasad’s social classification as the tool of choice for measurement of socioeconomic status in your research work,
- If you agree that there is a need for updating the income category cut-points, that is, you get the logic for a revision,
- Then by extension of the same logic, there is need for a real-time update.
A new value of the CPI is released each month. The data collection in my study is going to last more than one month. So, which value of the CPI to use in my research?
The CPI value changes monthly as discussed. It will not be practically feasible to use different values of the revised scale for different subjects, for a cross-sectional research study in which the data collection lasts more than a month. A recommendation can be to use the last available value of the CPI before printing of the questionnaires, for calculation of the revised scale for cross-sectional studies. For prospective follow-up studies where an individual is likely to be followed up at least six months apart, two different CPI values can be used for the baseline and the follow-up measurements.