KOZHIKODE: It’s nearly two weeks since P C Mohanan resigned as the acting chairman of the National Statistical Commission (NSC) in protest against the delay on the part of the Central Government in releasing the data on unemployment collected by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO). Mohanan, who had headed the NSSO survey, feels the NSC has been repeatedly sidelined by the government over the past couple of years.
In an interview with Express, Mohanan cited instances during the past few months wherein NSC data was suppressed. “We were not happy with the NITI Aayog announcing the GDP back series data in November last year. This is usually done by the NSSO, the Central Statistical Office or the Ministry of Statistics.
Also, the National Policy on Official Statistics was announced without any reference to the commission. This was followed by the government not publishing the NSSO data, which was the real trigger for my resignation,” he said.
Asked why he thought people should know the reality regarding the unemployment rates at a time when the government was claiming to have created crores of jobs, Mohanan said: “I do not want to comment on what the government has claimed.
‘It’s the right of every citizen to know the truth’
P C Mohanan said: “It is the right of every citizen to know the truth of what is happening in the country and what the actual unemployment figures are. In addition, the rules and regulations of the Ministry of Statistics clearly state that such relevant data should be made accessible to the public.” Mohanan, along with J V Meenakshi, another non-government member of NSC, had quit on January 28 claiming the government was trying to withhold the NSSO Periodic Labour Force Survey data.
As per media reports on January 31, the survey conducted between July 2017 and June 2018 showed India’s unemployment rate had increased to 6.1 per cent during the period, which was the highest in 45 years. Mohanan had earlier dismissed NITI Aayog’s claims the report was still in the draft stage. “The report was approved on December 5 and should have been made public by now,” he said.
Mohanan, who has had a stressful two-weeks since his resignation, added that he did make attempts to find the cause of delay in releasing the report. “ However I did not receive any satisfactory reply from the Centre,” he said. Mohanan said the Commission was set up in 2005 with a lot of hope as the apex body for official statistics. “However, when I joined in 2017, I found the NSC was not being taken as seriously as it should have been.”