NEW DELHI: The two remaining non-official members of the National Statistical Commission (NSC) including the acting chairman of the apex statistical body PC Mohanan have resigned from their post leaving the body defunct.
“We were feeling the commission was not being taken seriously and it has not been effective. Some of the decisions of the commission were not also considered. We thought we were being sidelined. Hence, we have sent our resignation to the President of India on Monday," Mohanan said.
Both Mohanan and the other member JV Meenakshi’s term was valid till June 2020. The chairman’s post of NSC is vacant since 31 July, 2018 when Radha Binod Barman retired. Pravin Srivastava, chief statistician of India and Niti Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant, the two government nominees, are only in the commission. Posts of two other members are also remain vacant at present.
“Now the National Statistical Commission no longer exists! Both remaining members have resigned after the government refuses to release the NSSO employment report they had vetted!," tweeted economist Jayati Ghosh, professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Mohanan said the NSC had approved the report of the Annual Employment Survey for 2017-18 which has not been released. “That’s also one of the reasons why we resigned," he added.
In November, Mohanan had raised objections to the Niti Aayog getting involved in the release of the back-series GDP (gross domestic product) data.
A political slugfest followed the release of the data after the statistics ministry revised GDP figures downward for the period ruled by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.
According to the back-series data released by the Central Statistics Office, the Indian economy grew at an average of 6.67% in the nine years ended 31 March 2014 when the UPA was in power, slower than the 7.35% achieved in the four years ended 31 March 2018, with Narendra Modi as the prime minister. It also shows that the highest growth rate the Indian economy has so far achieved is 8.5% in 2010-11, against the 10.3% estimated using the older base.
Mohanan said the Niti Aayog seems to have raided through the “round table" and that the release of the data by the Niti Aayog is not the usual procedure. “The CSO (Central Statistics Office) has not followed the usual procedure of release. It is slightly unusual for me," he had told Mint.