Two independent members of the National Statistical Commission (NSC), P C Mohanan and J V Meenakshi, have resigned over disagreement with the government on certain issues.
Mohanan was also the acting chairperson. With the two members quitting, the NSC now has only two members -- Chief Statistician Pravin Srivastava and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
Both members tendered their resignation on January 28, 2019, an official said. The NSC, under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), is to have seven members, as per its website.
Already, three posts were vacant. The tenure of Mohanan and Meenakshi was to end in June 2020. They joined as members in June 2017. Reportedly, these two members are said to have resigned over disagreement with the government on some issues, the official said.
CNBC-TV18 caught up with Himanshu Professor, JNU; Pronab Sen, former chairman of National Statistical Commission and Sudipto Mundle, Emeritus Professor, NIPFP to understand the road ahead for the commission.
Himanshu said, "There is certainly this apprehension that the government is hiding something is true. Look at the demonetisation data of RBI that was unnecessarily delayed, even though the government had numbers with it for quite some time. It was delayed and released after the Uttar Pradesh elections were over. It was high time that the statistical system spoke up and I am happy that at least they have come out in open."
Sen said, "The fact of the matter is that if the government needs to be shaken up to take the credibility and integrity of the statistical system seriously, then we are already in trouble. The fact of the matter is that having been the chief statistician and then been the chairman of the NSC, at no time did I have to contend with political pressure being brought. I think the resignations are an important step not just for this government, but for all governments of the future."
Mundle said, "I am very disappointed and not surprised by the resignations in the NSC. The NSC members have done the respectable thing that any self-respecting professional would do if indeed. We have been waiting desperately for this employment data as we haven't had any data since 2011-2012 and that is being kept from the country and public is shameful, I think."