New Delhi: Calling it a knee-jerk
reaction, Surjit S. Bhalla, the former member of Prime Minister Narendra
Modi's Economic Advisory Council, in his book "Citizen Raj" has said
that withholding the NSSO unemployment data by the government was a
"The Modi government, owing to a knee-jerk
reaction, has to date not released the report or the underlying raw
data. This is a huge mistake. It will be desirable if the government
cuts its losses and releases the data and the report," Bhalla said.
On another occasion, he had said the leak occurred "simply because of the reluctance of the part of the government".
joins a long list of experts who have expressed concerns over the
holding back of the unemployment figures, which has snowballed into a
huge controversy ahead of the general election.
officials had said that Niti Aayog had found shortcomings in PLFS
methodology and had brushed aside the controversy over the "leaked
report", saying the NSSO data is not finalised and is a draft report.
Nagaraj of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research told
IANS that the unemployment data (Periodic labour force survey, PLFS) was
not released and as per the laid out procedure and was behind schedule.
Aayog has no role in the release of PLFS data. However, it has
interfered in and found shortcomings in PLFS methodology and to the best
of my knowledge, Niti Aayog does not have required expertise on
statistical matters," Nagaraj said.
Nagaraj, alongside several
economists, in a statement released earlier last month, questioned the
government's intent behind the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) methodology
revision and called for the restoration of independence of statistical
bodies in light of the allegations that the government was suppressing
Earlier this year, a report citing the
National Sample Survey Office's PLFS data, the publication of which was
withheld, revealed that unemployment in the country was at a
45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18.
Despite the high voltage
debate around whether the government is trying to hide uncomfortable
data, one piece of data that is no longer available is National Crime
Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics on suicides in India, which was stopped
The NCRB data was widely used to analyse farmers' suicides and evidence of the agrarian distress.