The newly constituted Standing Committee on Economic Statistics, chaired by former Chief Statistician of India Pronab Sen, in its first meeting on Tuesday decided to form three sub-groups.
One sub-group will look into the details of the Periodic Labour Force Survey and time use survey; the second group will look into Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and Annual Survey of Industries (ASI); and the third group will look into details of Annual Survey of unincorporated sector enterprises and services sector data, two committee members who attended the meeting said.
Jeemol Unni, professor of economics at Amrut Mody School of Management, Ahmedabad University, will head the sub-group on the Periodic Labour Force Survey and time use survey, while Biswanath Goldar, former professor at the Institute of Economic Growth, will chair the sub-group on IIP and ASI. Sen will head the sub-group on the annual survey of unincorporated sector enterprises and services sector, they said.
The committee, in its first meeting, did a stock taking exercise, taking note of the present datasets, one of the members said. Detailed presentations were made on Annual Survey of Industries, the member added.
“In the first meeting, the aim was to do a stock taking exercise of the existing datasets.
The three sub-groups will now look into details of two datasets each and make the necessary suggestions. The main committee has decided to hold a meeting on a quarterly basis,” the member said.
To review statistics related to economic activity, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) had last month constituted a Standing Committee on Economic Statistics chaired by Pronab Sen, in a bid to improve the quality of data amid criticism over the government’s handling of economic data.
The panel has 27 members in total, including representatives from the United Nations, Reserve Bank of India, Finance Ministry, NITI Aayog, two industry chambers, Tata Trust, and economists and statisticians from several educational institutions.
The government had also got critics onboard the committee, with three members (now two, after the resignation of Jawaharlal Nehru University professor CP Chandrasekhar) who had, in March last year, signed a joint statement of 108 economists and social scientists that flagged concerns over “political interference” in influencing statistical data in the country.
Most members attended Tuesday’s meeting except Chandrasekhar, who quit the panel a day before the meeting.
The new Standing Committee on Economic Statistics, with 10 non-official members and 15 official members, has been mandated to review the framework for economic indicators pertaining to the industrial sector, the services sector and the labour force statistics. It has subsumed four existing committees — the Standing Committee on Labour Force Statistics (SCLFS), Standing Committee on Services Sector (SCSS), Standing Committee on Industrial Statistics (SCIS) and the Standing Committee on Services Sector and Unincorporated Sector Enterprises (SCSSUSE).
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