In its first meeting after the government referred back the withheld Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) for 2017-18 to it, the Standing Committee on Labour Force Statistics (SCLFS) is slated to meet on March 11 in Kolkata. The committee is expected to discuss issues of comparability of estimates of the Survey with the earlier employment-unemployment surveys conducted by National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and the methodological differences between the surveys, two members of the committee said.
The Committee will also consider the release of the Periodic Labour Force Survey for 2017-18, without any changes or correction, one of the members said.
The quarterly estimates under PLFS, which will reflect urban employment scenario, have also been listed as the agenda items for the meeting, they said.
In addition, the committee will discuss issue of usage of population estimates by the NSSO in its surveys, which are lower than the population estimates projected in Census 2011, for which a sub-committee is likely to be appointed to look into the details, the members said. “The discussion on population estimates does not pay only to PLFS. The population size and household size estimation impacts unemployment ratio, population-worker ratio and other ratios used in the surveys. A sub-committee will be appointed to study those details,” the member told The Indian Express. The methods of data collection, sampling design for labour statistics in various states will also come up for discussion in the meeting.
The issues raised about discrepancies arising out of hand-held devices in sampling will be discussed threadbare in the meeting, the member said. The member, however, added that the impact of hand-held devices on results will be looked into for future rounds of the surveys, not necessarily for the surveys done already by the NSSO. Chief Statistician of India Pravin Srivastava had on February 14 written in The Indian Express that strictly, the PLFS survey design and the earlier Employment and Unemployment Survey, which were conducted along with the Household Consumption and Expenditure Survey, are “not comparable in view of the methodological differences itself”. “The government has thus decided to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Labour Force Statistics to examine and ascertain the impact of these changes holistically,” he had said. Srivastava had also said the draft report was discussed in detail at the meeting of the National Statistical Commission on December 5. “However, it was felt that the quarterly results may also be processed so that an idea about the results and other parameters could be ascertained,” he had said.
The Standing Committee on Labour Force Statistics , chaired by former University of Calcutta professor S P Mukherjee, had last met on December 4, wherein it had given its go ahead for the PLFS report. The following day, on December 5, the National Statistical Commission, the final approving authority for official statistics, had approved the Annual Employment-Unemployment Report (PLFS) for 2017-18.
In January, the acting chairman of NSC, P C Mohanan, a career statistician, and J V Meenakshi, Professor at the Delhi School of Economics, resigned from NSC protesting against the withholding of the NSSO’s first Annual Survey on Employment and Unemployment for the year 2017-18.