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‘Is Govt Hiding Jobs Data?’ Twitter Asks After Statisticians Quit

The concern of autonomous institutions being silenced under the Modi rule was also raised.

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Social Dangal
2 min read
The government now  relies on the EPFO data to measure employment which, according to critics and experts, is burdened with discrepancies.
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On Tuesday, 29 January, two members of National Statistical Commission (NSC) quit – allegedly protesting the government’s sidelining of the organisation and its refusal to release the annual NSSO employment report. The NSSO report had been approved by the officers in December. It is also important to note that PC Mohanan and JV Meenakshi were the last two non-government members of the NSSO.

The Modi government had earlier discontinued the Labour Bureau’s annual household surveys on employment from 2017-18. On 16 January 2019, a government-appointed panel led by former chief statistician TCA Anant suggested doing away with the Labour Bureau’s quarterly employment survey too, citing quality.

The government now solely relies on the EPFO data to measure employment which, according to critics and experts, is burdened with discrepancies.

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On the other hand, the BJP has expressed great zeal in talking about the employment opportunities created under the Modi government. The official Twitter handles of BJP have put out graphics that show how employment generation has spiked. The topic makes its way into Modi’s speeches too.

All these topped with the NSC episode has led the economists, politicians and laypeople on Twitter to question the government’s methods and intentions. Many believe that PM Modi is trying to cover up the grim state of the job sector post demonetisation.

Economist Jayati Ghosh tweeted that the National Statistical Commission no longer exists. The NSC is left with just Amitabh Kant, NITI Aayog CEO who is an ex-officio member, and Pravin Srivastava, India’s chief statistician.

Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidamabaram, in his tweet “mourned the death of the National Statistical Commission” and wished rebirth to the organisation.

One Twitter user said the government is trying to hide the effects of note ban on employment. “What does the government not want you to know?” Twitter asked.

There were also opinions that the government is releasing fake data on employment.

The concern of autonomous institutions being silenced under the Modi rule was also raised.

Twitter users also called out Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his silence over the entire issue.

Twitterati also remembered how the National Crime Records Bureau’s annual survey has been delayed. Many seemed to think the government is hiding data on crucial sectors.

One Twitter user said the truth about employment in India will come out through data from other organisations like CMIE (Centre For Monitoring Indian Economy).

The government needs to tread lightly, lest ‘employment’ prove to be their Achilles heel.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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