Insights into Editorial: Standard deviations: On jobs data
The two remaining non-government members of the National Statistical Commission (NSC) quit the organisation citing a lack involvement in key decisions.
The issues can be manifold which makes the country in right direction from time to time such as the recently-released gross domestic product (GDP) back series, launch of the new economic census and delay in publishing the employment-unemployment report for 2016-17 despite its approval.
Reasons cited for resigning from NSC by the members:
- The commission is being side-lined, neglected. They felt that the NSC was not doing its job and NSC members were not being involved in key decisions.
- The NSC’s job is to restore trust in official statistics and we were not serving that purpose, said one of the members who has resigned.
- The member said there were a series of issues that had been piling up including the government launching the seventh economic census for 2019 without the commission’s approval.
- The GDP back series was released from the Niti Aayog even though that is not the norm. Though NSC members are not involved in the GDP computation, the commission is the apex body.
- The back series, released in November, adjusted the GDP numbers for the period using new methodology with the base year as FY12 and has scaled back growth in from the peak of 10.3% in FY11 to 8.5%.
- The new series also highlighted that the contribution of the services sector was overestimated earlier and has been revised down.
- Another issue pertains to the government withholding the release of the results of NSSO’s quinquennial (released in every 5 years) survey, with the reference period being 2016-17 even though the commission approved the report.
- This assumes significance in the wake of the government being criticised for a scarcity of jobs in the country.
About National Statistical Commission:
The Government of India through a resolution dated 1st June, 2005 set up the National Statistical Commission (NSC).
The setting up of the NSC followed the decision of the Cabinet to accept the recommendations of the Rangarajan Commission, which reviewed the Indian Statistical System in 2001.
NSC is the apex advisory body on statistical matters.
The NSC was constituted with a mandate to evolve policies, priorities and standards in statistical matters. The NSC has four Members besides a Chairperson, each having specialization and experience in specified statistical fields.
It is supposed to act as a nodal and empowered body for all core statistical activities of the country. It will also ensure statistical coordination among the different agencies involved.
Much Concerned issues that need for Immediate Attention:
- Reports suggest that the findings of the new Periodic Labour Force Survey, for July 2017-December 2018, are not too flattering, with unemployment registering a five-decade high.
- The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy has pegged job losses in 2018 at 11 million based on its regular employment surveys.
- The government’s coy approach to jobs-related data may be due to its disastrous demonetisation gambit which hurt supply chains and informal jobs in the economy and whose effects have lingered.
- Care Ratings, too, had pointed out that employment growth in corporate India had moderated to 3.8 percent in the 2017-18 financial year, and that jobs in smaller firms had been affected the most.
- The agency had said this slowdown in job growth is “reflective of the proposition that higher economic growth is weakly translating into higher job creation“.
- On the question of job-creation for the youth, the government have been building an argument that jobs abound, but credible data are missing.
- Proxy data from enrolments into social security schemes for formal sector employees are being touted as a sign of job-creation but economists have rightly called them out as
The present NSC has got chairperson and four members and all became vacant with the resignation of Shri P. C. Mohanan and Dr. J. V. Meenakshi.
CEO, NITIAayog, Amitabh Kant is the Ex-officio Member and Chief Statistician of India and Secretary MOSPI is Secretary to the National Statistical Commission.
In response to concerns raised over the delayed release of the NSSO labour force survey, the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation noted that the NSSO was still “processing the quarterly data” and that the report would be released thereafter.
Surveys by the NSSO have always been considered the benchmark by which the employment situation in the country can be gauged, definitely not the number of subscriptions to provident funds.
So why is the government focussing on these figures instead of coming up with ways to deal with the job’s crisis?
There is a need of much immediate steps have to be taken to ensure that Independence of the NSC should be maintained. It is supposed to be impartial.