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About this research guide

This research guide provides information on the Indian National Sample Survey, Stata files for the 68th round, and instructions for how to use the data from the 68th round. 

About the NSS

The Indian National Sample Survey (NSS) is one of the oldest continuing household sample surveys in the developing world. The survey is conducted on a regular basis by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO). The NSSO is representative at the level of regions. The NSSO has sometimes changed its data collection methodology midstream, and this has affected the comparability of NSS estimates over time. There is no fixed rotation schedule for the special-interest modules that are attached to the core consumption-employment module of the NSS. These peculiarities can make the data difficult to use.

About Round 68

Every round of NSS covers different topics, the 68th round of NSSO survey was carried out from 2011 to 2012 and covers household consumer expenditure and employment/unemployment.

What can it tell me?

The coverage of the NSS varies over the different rounds. Each round always obtains information on consumption and employment; health, schooling, or disability, in the form of additional modules. Since its inception, the NSS has covered some fifty different subjects in its surveys, such as household debt and investment, literacy and culture, health, schooling, and village-level infrastructure. Poverty and, to a smaller extent, unemployment remain the two top issues that are explored by researchers with the NSS data.

Round 68 focuses on

-- Expenditure on consumption goods and services

-- Imputed value of self-consumed produce of own farm or other hh enterprise

-- Any household expenses reimbursed by employer (medical, electricity, LTC, etc.)

-- Cost of minor repairs of assets & durable goods

-- All compulsory payments to schools and colleges including so-called “donations”

-- Goods and services received as payment in kind or received free from employer (incl. imputed rent of quarters)

-- Payments for medical care reimbursed or directly paid by insurance company

-- Second-hand purchases of clothing, footwear, books, durables

Instructions for Use

The purpose of this guide is to provide Stata compatible files with a unique ID for merging these very large files. The ID that you will use to merge files is the variable “id”, this will enable you to merge files together for use. Many of these files are very large, so it would be recommended to subset data as appropriate or only use the blocks that you need. 

Each block focuses on a particular series of topics as follows: 

Block 1: Identification of sample household.
Block 2: Particulars of field operations.
Block 3: Household characteristics.
Block 4: Demographic and other particulars of household members.
Block 5: Consumption of cereals, pulses, milk and milk products, sugar and salt, edible oil, egg, fish and meat, vegetables, fruits, spices, beverages and processed food and pan, tobacco and intoxicants.
Block 6: Consumption of energy (fuel, light & household appliances).
Block 7: Consumption of clothing, bedding, etc.
Block 8: Consumption of footwear.
Block 9: Expenditure on education and medical (institutional) goods and services.
Block 10: Expenditure on miscellaneous goods and services including medical (non-institutional), rents and taxes.
Block 11: Expenditure for purchase and construction (including repair and maintenance) of durable goods for domestic use.
Block 12: Summary of consumer expenditure.
Block 13: Information on Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Homoeopathy (AYUSH).
Block 14: Remarks by investigator/ Asstt. Superintending Officer.
Block 15: Comments by supervisory officer(s)

Data Files

NSS files are very large, please keep this in mind when trying to work with them. 


Files are accessible through the link below or through

Useful Links