In the middle of a raging debate on the quality of official data, Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, informed the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that the erstwhile Standing Committee on Economic Statistics (SCES) held only two meetings since its constitution in December 2019 and July 2023.
“Two meetings of SCES were held after the formation of SCES in 2019. The first meeting was held on January 7, 2020, and the second on February 10, 2021,” the minister said.
In July 2023, SCES was revamped as the Standing Committee on Statistics (SCoS) with a two-year tenure and a broader mandate to review the framework and results of all surveys brought before it by the ministry.
Additionally, the minister informed the House that during its two meetings, SCES recommended the formation of focused sub-committees to oversee all survey activities. As a result, the ministry formed three sub-committees to discuss survey-related matters in a more focused manner.
“The chairpersons of these sub-committees apprised the SCES about the progress made in different survey topics under their jurisdiction as and when required. The SCES then took a final view on the recommendations of these sub-committees,” the minister added.
SCES was tasked with deliberating on various issues related to labour force statistics, time-use surveys, industrial statistics, the services sector, unorganised sector statistics, and economic census, among other things.
The committee also advised re-examining the data of the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) 2017-18 for specific cases before finalising the results. Consequently, some schedules were identified and referred back to the field for correction.
“Based on the corrections made by the field, ASI 2017-18 data were revised, and the revised data were released after obtaining concurrence from SCES and necessary administrative approval,” Rao added.
Furthermore, the committee recommended the implementation of the recommendations of the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) in labour force surveys conducted by the National Statistical Office. This action has been taken by the SCoS in its meeting.
Additionally, the committee decided to address the issue of possible divergence in the production boundary in the System of National Accounts 2008 and that used in the measurement of different forms of work, according to the 19th ICLS. A detailed note on this matter was prepared.