Amid ongoing controversy over the shocking exit of two external members from the National Statistical Commission, the Narendra Modi government has issued a point-by-point clarification. “The members had expressed certain concerns on the functioning of the Commission including release of the labour force survey results and the Back Series of GDP. These concerns were not expressed by the Members in any of the meetings of the Commission in the last few months,” the Centre said in a statement. On Tuesday, PC Mohanan (in picture), acting chairman and JV Meenakshi had resigned from the Commission saying that they were not taken seriously.
An NDTV report said that the two external members had quit over their differences with the Centre over job data. "We found that the commission was not very effective in discharging whatever it was supposed to do. And in recent times we thought we were being sidelined or we are not taken very seriously," Mohanan was quoted as saying by NDTV. However, the government said that, “the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation not only places a high regard for the Commission but also values its advice and on which appropriate action is taken.”
On the concerns regarding the labour force survey, the Centre said that, “the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) has been designed to yield annual estimates of the labour force on employment and unemployment along with quarterly estimates for the urban areas. NSSO is processing the quarterly data for the period July 2017 to December 2018 and the report will be released thereafter. Keeping in view India’s strong demographic dividend and around 93% of the informal workforce, it is important to improve measures of employment through administrative statistics and complemented by periodic surveys. In this direction, the Ministry has started bringing out estimates of new subscribers/members enrolling in large social security schemes like the Employees’Provident Fund (EPF), Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Scheme and the National Pension Scheme (NPS).”
“The new members enrolling in these schemes are a good measure about the numbers in the workforce moving towards formalization,” it added. Apart from the job survey, the Centre also stated on the Back Series of the GDP. “The National Statistical Commission had itself urged the Ministry to finalise and release it. The official estimates of the Back Series of GDP were accordingly computed using the methodology adopted in the 2011-12 Base Year series and this was approved by the experts in the Advisory Committee on National Accounts Statistics, which is the appropriate body. This was later discussed in the National Statistical Commission. Moreover, the methodology adopted by the Ministry for the Back Series is available in the public domain,” the statement said.