Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi during a meeting with top officials to review the flood situation in the state, in Purnea on Saturday

Modi govt has deftly concealed the data on poor and number of unemployed in the country. Till the next Lok Sabha elections, we may not come to know about the number of poor and unemployed in India

The Modi government at the Centre has decided not to reveal the data on the poor and unemployed in the country from 2014 to 2019.  Till the year 2019 that is till next general elections, the country will not have data on the poor. The condition of poverty and unemployment has been kept under wraps so that an illusion continues to occupy public mind. This is being done for the first time.

In the year 2019, when the Modi government would be flooding us with its achievements, there will be no data available for us to find out the truth. Not only poverty, but also the country will not have any data related to unemployment. So, in a way, the government has made the yardstick vanish which is essential to assess the mood of the economy.

The national sample survey has not even been started so that the illusion of development is maintained and the ever-rising dissatisfaction among the people can be contained. Based on the principle of no data, no hue and cry, there is a conspiracy being hatched to weaken the prospects of evaluating the economy.

The country now will have this data only after 2019. Efforts are being devised to collect and even manipulate these figures. There will be no basis left to compare the data of the present with those of the past and projected future figures. The same is being done with the evaluation of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The most authentic government data related to poverty and unemployment is provided by National Sample Survey (NSS). This data gives a picture of the ground realities of the country and there has been a tradition to develop government plans and schemes based on this data. This survey is conducted after every five years and, if need be, it is conducted even before that too.

According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Labour, the country suffered 1.5 crore job cuts between March 1, 2014 and July 15, 2015. The analysis of the quarterly entrepreneur survey tells us that from 2009 to 2014, six lakh jobs were created annually, whereas from 2014 to 2016, only 1.3 lakh jobs were created annually.

There has been an enormous increase in unemployment and poverty. Demand has hit a low because purchasing power has decreased drastically. Unemployment has increased rapidly, especially after demonetisation.

  • According to an assessment by Centre for Monitoring India Economy (CMIE), this year (2017) witnessed the loss of 15 lakh jobs in the first four months alone.
  • The All India Manufacturing Association (AIMA), FICCI, and CII have all admitted that there is a huge fall in the job market.
  • The National Sample Survey had conducted an employment survey in 2015-16, whose results were not even released by the government.

Not only this, the government did not reassess the poverty line. The Rangarajan Committee had presented its report on poverty line to Prime Minister Narendra Modi but it was put on the back burner by the Central government. This report was neither presented in Parliament, nor were the data revealed in the report paid attention to. Presently, the country only has the Tendulkar Committee data related to poverty line which were released back in 2011-12. The Rangarajan Committee, disagreeing with the Tendulkar Committee, had said that it had included less number of people in its survey which was not accurate. There is no assessment or evaluation available on the poverty line in 2017.

This jugglery and concealing of data by the Central government has perturbed economists. Himanshu, Associate Professor at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, said, “The economy is badly out of breath, is in deep crisis. But the government is trying to deliberately blot out data related to poverty and unemployment. While they should have done quite the opposite as the UPA-1 had done.”

The former chairman of the National Statistical Commission, economist Pranab Sen, also expressed his serious concerns that the government has jeopardised the economy by hiding data or manipulating it wrongly. He said the Modi government has been behaving like a doctor who, just to save his image, is constantly saying that the patient is healthy.