Got no request to review labour force survey: Panel
The standing committee is headed by University of Calcutta professor SP Mukherjee, besides eminent economists and statisticians including Indian Statistical Institute member Aloke Kar.
HYDERABAD: The National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO) controversial Employment and Unemployment Survey 2017-18, which the Centre withheld from releasing citing further examination, wasn’t referred to the Standing Committee on Labour Force Statistics for review, contrary to popular perception, according to sources.
The standing committee is headed by University of Calcutta professor S P Mukherjee, besides eminent economists and statisticians including Indian Statistical Institute member Aloke Kar.
“No aspect of the content or the presentation in the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) report, which was cleared by the committee in December, was referred back by the ministry (of statistics and programme implementation) to the committee for reconsideration,” Mukherjee told this publication, adding, “After some suggestions made by somebody (in media including bureaucrats), not forwarded to the standing committee, not to me... these were duly considered, and the committee took the stand that the report stands approved.”
Mukherjee was referring to the committee’s March 11 meeting held in Kolkata. According to him, the committee on its own wisdom thought that it was appropriate to look at certain aspects — not at the PLFS report, but in general — that need to be re-looked.
When asked specifically about the PLFS report, he said, “Neither me nor the member secretary of the standing committee received any formal, written request from the ministry that the report is being referred to the committee for further consideration.”
Mukherjee’s remarks run counter to Dr Pravin Srivastava, secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, also the Chief Statistician of India, who last month said otherwise.
Writing in a national daily, Srivastava noted that the government “decided to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Labour Force Statistics to examine and ascertain the impact of these changes holistically.”
“Strictly speaking, the PLFS design and earlier Employment and Unemployment Survey, which were conducted along with the Household Consumption and Expenditure Survey, are not comparable in view of the methodological differences itself,” Srivastava wrote in the article.
Subsequently, news reports indicated, citing ministry sources, that the report will be released by the end of this month after receiving feedback from the expert committee. Srivastava couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. It’s also unclear if the ministry constituted a team of experts to review the report and there has been no official word yet on the release date.
On Thursday, PC Mohanan, former acting chairman of National Statistics Commission (NSC), had questioned the government’s move referring the report to the standing committee as it is subordinate to NSC.