Experts rubbish Niti claim that NSSO data needs Centre’s nod


Two non-official members of the National Statistical Commission (NSC), including the acting chairman of the apex statistical body P.C. Mohanan, resigned on Tuesday, citing, as one of the reasons, the government's failure to release the annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) report that they had vetted in December.

Commenting on the data, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said it is time for the Narendra Modi government to go.

Over the last couple of years, India's economy has been growing rapidly by about seven percent annually, but uneven growth has meant that there are not enough new jobs to keep pace.

In September 2018, economists from Azim Premji University released a report which said that in 2015, the headline rate of unemployment reached 5%, with youth unemployment at a very high 16%.

The damning revelation comes just a day after a controversy erupted over the central government's refusal to release the report on unemployment despite the National Statistical Commission giving its approval in December a year ago. The joblessness rate among youth was at a significantly higher level in 2017-18 than the previous years and "much higher compared to that in the overall population", the draft says.

"The CPI (M) demands that all data must be released immediately".

Kumar said employment data is seasonal and so the comparison of quarterly data has to be on a yearly basis, that is, data for October-December 2018 needs to be compared with October-December 2017 and that this new survey should not be compared with earlier versions of NSSO surveys.

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The government has questioned the report, saying it was "not verified". After the resignations of these two, the Commission is left with two members. "Only a man who hasn't ever held a proper job and is totally jobless can peddle such #FakeNews!" it said. Niti Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar, who mounted the government's defence on the jobs numbers on Friday, seemed to suggest that the numbers have to be approved by the Cabinet.

Sabnavis said in case the NITI Aayog or the NSSO come up with a different set of data, it would be necessary to let everyone know why the earlier survey was wrong.

After the chaotic launch of a national sales tax in July 2017, hundreds of thousands have lost jobs in small businesses.

The gloomy jobs data could be awkward for Modi's Hindu nationalist government to explain with a general election looming and opinion polls already showing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party would be unlikely to keep its parliamentary majority.

"NoMo Jobs! The Fuhrer promised us 2 Cr jobs a year".

But former chief statisticians disagreed and said the cabinet isn't supposed to approve NSSO surveys.

A report released by the All India Manufacturers' Organisation said last month 3.5 million jobs had been lost since 2016, mainly due to demonetisation and rising working costs after the launch of the national tax.