Two days after members of the National Statistical Commission (NSC), PC Mohanan and JV Meenakshi, resigned, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, on Wednesday, called the duo for a meeting. Mohanan and Meenakshi were the only remaining non-government members in the commission.
NDTV reported that the ministry's secretary Pravin Srivastava has called them for a meeting. Speaking to NDTV on Tuesday, Mohanan, who was also the NSC acting chairperson, said, "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 not taken very seriously."
He confirmed that the disagreement with the Centre on the release of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) report of 2017-18 on employment was one of the reasons he had resigned.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Mohanan said on Wednesday: "The reason for our resignation is basically that we thought that the NSC was not able to contribute to the objectives for which it was set up, like being the apex body for official statistics, and we were not being taken very seriously."
Mohanan said they did not like the involvement of the NITI Aayog in announcing the backdated GDP series, adding that the government should not have involved another agency. He claimed the Centre was already in the process of selecting a chairman and two members.
In November 2018, NITI Aayog had come under fire for announcing the revised GDP data of the UPA years. NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar and Chief Statistician Srivastava had announced the back-series data by the government.
The Congress targeted the Narendra Modi government over the two resignations. Senior party leader P Chidambaram, in a series of tweets on Wednesday, said, "One more venerable institution died on 29 January, 2019, owing to malicious negligence by the government. We mourn the death of the National Statistical Commission and remember with gratitude its valiant fight to release untainted GDP data and employment data."
May the NSC rest in peace until it is re-born again!
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) January 30, 2019
Congress spokerperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi asked whether the Centre had "withheld the (employment) report" because the jobs data was "embarrassing", or whether the government was forcing the NSC to do more data doctoring. "#Modinomics is all about #ModiStats," he said in a tweet.
#NSC joins distinguished instns led 2wreck &ruin by #Modi #bjp: #rbi #cbi #cvc #cbdt #Ed #IT. Self respecting professionals cannot stand this #govts pressures nor attempts 2doctor data. But pliable bureaucrats can b used 4vendetta politics! Latter shd learn from former! — Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) January 30, 2019
The NSC now has only two members — Chief Statistician Pravin Srivastava and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
As per the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the NSC should have seven members. Three posts were already vacant and the tenures of Mohanan and Meenakshi were to end in June 2020.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Jan 30, 2019 14:52:05 IST