• Tuesday, October 22, 2019
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A Non-Exhaustive List of Important Data That The Modi Govt Has Not Released (Or Doesn’t Have)

How many jobs were created by the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana?

Data is an important tool for policy-making. Data informs us about the status quo, tells us where we are so we can figure out where to go and how. Your GPS can’t help you navigate unless you turn your location on.

Additionally, data is also an effective means to back up one’s claims.

However, on multiple fronts, the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government seems to be steering policy effectively with a blindfold on, considering the insufficiently explained lack of important data.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of such statistics that the government has not released, or doesn’t have yet makes tall claims citing the same.

Farmers’ Suicides

National Crime Records Bureau’s ‘Crime in India’ Report, released annually since 1953, is the go-to booklet for important statistics such as farmers’ suicides in the country. Other important statistics that the report provides:

Crimes against women
Crimes against children
Crimes against SCs/STs and OBCs
Human Trafficking
Corruption offences

However, under the Modi government, the NCRB has not published the report for two consecutive years — 2017 and 2018. For a country that is facing a worsening agricultural crisis, this undue delay is callous at best and deceitful at worst.

Attacks on Journalists

On December 18, 2018, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs was asked if the government “is collecting statistics regarding cases of attack on journalists across the country.” To this, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir responded, “National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has not published data on attacks in respect of separate categories of professionals, including journalists. However, as per monthly information collected for cases registered under section 325, 326, 326A & 326B IPC for attacks on journalists, State wise information for the period 2014 – 2016 is given at Annexure.”

However, even for 2014-16, the said Annexure (given below) reports that no cases for attacks on journalists were registered in most states.

Since the NCRB report hasn’t been released for 2017 and 2018, there is no data for these two years.

Reporters Without Borders has ranked India 138th on the World Press Freedom Index 2018. “At least three of the journalists murdered in 2017 were targeted in connection with their work. They included the newspaper editor Gauri Lankesh, who had been the target of a hate campaign on social networks. Three other journalists were killed for their professional activity in March 2018,” noted Reporters Without Borders.

Foreign Direct Investment

The Department of Industrial Policy and Production (DIPP) gives data on total investment inflows, compiling its own database and statistics provided by the Reserve Bank of India. However, a Business Standard report revealed that despite regular inputs from the RBI, the DIPP has not published the data since August 2018, which was for the April-June quarter. Business standard reported that the data released by the RBI to the DIPP shows a drop in investments. “In the April-November period of the current financial year (2018-19 or FY19),India received gross investment of $40.98 billion. This was 2 per cent lower than $41.82-billion investments in the same period of the previous years,” the article notes.

Unemployment data

On May 11, 2017 the Modi govt set up a Task Force on Improving Employment Data under the Chairmanship of Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog. This task force scrapped the Employment-Unemployment survey carried out by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) every five years. The last ‘Employment-Unemployment Situation in India’ report was released in June 2014 and provided data for 2011-2012.
The report of the Labour Bureau’s Sixth Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey has also not been released by the government. Business Standard had reported that it had accessed the unreleased report which showed that the unemployment rate rose from 3.4 per cent in 2013-14 to 3.7 per cent in 2015-16 to 3.9 per cent in 2016-17, following demonetisation. It was also reported that even though the Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Santosh Kumar Gangwar had approved the report in December, it has not been made public. The fifth round of the survey gives data for 2015-16. 

OBC population figures

For the first time after 1931, a a Socio-Economic Caste Census was conducted in 2011 as part of Census 2011. Considering the massive scale of the exercise, the data collected during Census 2011 started to release in only 2015. However, till date, the government has provided population figures for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and ‘Others’ and the OBC classification is missing. It is argued that OBC population actually makes up for a higher percentage of the population today than is accounted for, which would require that reservation policy be updated accordingly. 

The government told the parliament earlier this month that it has no authentic data for OBC figures.

Employment Generated Under MUDRA Scheme

In July 2017, BJP president Amit Shah had claimed that 7.28 crore jobs had been created under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY). Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also claimed on a number of occasions that the Mudra scheme has helped in job creation in the country.

However, the Ministry of Finance recently admitted to the Parliament that it maintains no data on the employment opportunities under the scheme. This means that all job creation claims related to the scheme are effectively being pulled out of thin air.

Here is the ministry’s response to a question asked in the Lok Sabha on December 21, 2018:

Black Money

While campaigning ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had claimed that the amount black money stashed abroad, if brought back into the country, would be equivalent to Rs 15 Lakh being deposited in each Indian citizen’s account. Almost universally termed a failure, the demonetisation policy was also presented as a measure to curb black money by the Modi government

However, in reality, no central government has been able to provide an estimate of black money stashed abroad or within India.

When asked about black money, here is what then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the parliament in February 2018.

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