Prelims level : Economics Mains level : Indian Economy and Issues
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Why in News:

  • The article says that the India is presently facing a data crisis which was recently talked by Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri


  • Heart of the data crisis in India is the Central government, which holds important data. Recently, it did not announce the data on employment created by the ‘Mudra’ scheme. National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data on employment were refused. Data on farm suicides have not been available since 2016 which created problems, such as on employment, farmers’ crisis and economic growth.
  • Demonetisation and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax(GST), both of which undermined the unorganised sector which employs 94% of the workforce, have impacted employment.
  • Data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) and others have confirmed unemployment.
  • The NSSO and CMIE data are based on household surveys which capture any additional employment created by Mudra loans, tax aggregators, e-commerce, etc. Basically, jobs are being lost so that the net effect is a decline in employment.
  • The government had promised doubling of farm incomes by 2022. But, farmers incomes have been under pressure due to falling farm produce prices and rising input costs.
  • It is aggravated by demonetisation, with cash shortages in rural areas compelling farmers to sell at lower prices to the traders to get cash.
  • Even though the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) collects them annually, Data on farmer suicides have not been released on schedule.

Steps by government:

  • The government has admitted that there is a crisis in the farming and unorganised sectors, and due to that in employment generation. So that it announced an annual ₹6,000 support to farmers owning up to five acres of land and promised insurance to workers in the unorganised sector.
  • It has also increased allocations for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) from ₹55,000 crore to ₹60,000 crore. This allocation is inadequate, but it does indicate that the government is forced to acknowledge the crisis facing the poor.

Unorganised sector data:

  • if data on unorganised sector employment are not reliable or are non-existent, GDP data would also not credible. The implication is that the government is only estimating growth on the basis of the organised sector of the economy.
  • The government has tied itself up in knots by saying that no one has credible employment data. So that GDP data also become suspect and so does the claim of 7% rate of growth GDP calculation is inaccurate, and based on GDP the budget is figured out.
  • Post-demonetisation, which decimated completely the unorganised sector. but the official figures represent only the organised sector. This would be consistent with the crisis of the unorganised sector, agriculture and employment. A 7% growth rate of the economy is not consistent with unorganised sector.
  • GDP growth figures are relied on based only on the corporate sector data and not even the organised sector. Thus, they are less representative of growth of the economy.

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO),

  • The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), formerly called the National Sample Survey Organisation is the largest organisation in India conducting periodic socio-economic surveys. It is under the Ministry of Statistics of the Indian government. It was set up in 1950. The employees of the NSSO are from the Indian Statistical Service (appointed through the UPSC) and the Subordinate Statistical Service (appointed through the Staff Selection Commission).
  • The NSSO conducts large-scale sample surveys throughout India. It is headed by a Director General.
  • The four divisions of the NSSO are:
  • Survey Design and Research Division – responsible for technical planning of surveys, formulation of concepts and definitions, sampling design, designing of inquiry schedules, drawing up of tabulation plan, analysis and presentation of survey results. HQ in Kolkata. Field Operations Division – responsible for the collection of primary data for the surveys undertaken by NSSO. HQ in Delhi/Faridabad.
  • Data Processing Division – responsible for sample selection, software development, processing, validation and tabulation of the data collected through surveys. HQ in Kolkata. Co-ordination & Publication Division – Coordinates all the various departments and divisions in the NSSO; also publishes its annual journal. Located in Delhi.

National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB)

  • National Crime Record Bureau is to empower Indian Police with Information Technology to allow them to efficiently enforce the law and perk up public service delivery. It is responsible for collecting and dissecting crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy

  • CMIE, or Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, is a leading business information company. It was established in 1976, primarily as an independent think tank.
  • CMIE has a presence over the entire information food-chain – from large scale primary data collection and information product development through analytics and forecasting.
  • It provides services to the entire spectrum of business information consumers including governments, academia, financial markets, business enterprises, professionals and media. CMIE produces economic and business databases and develops specialised analytical tools to deliver these to its customers for decision making and for research. It analyses the data to decipher trends in the economy.
  • CMIE has built India’s largest database on the financial performance of individual companies; it conducts the largest survey to estimate household incomes, pattern of spending and savings; it runs a unique monitoring of new investment projects on hand and it has created the largest integrated database of the Indian economy.
  • All databases and research work are delivered to customers through subscription services. CMIE is a privately owned and professionally managed company head-quartered at Mumbai.

Way forward:

  • The government is denying the data of its own agencies or modifying data arbitrarily. data should be improved without denying the existing official data, to ensure better policy and credibility
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