The report, which was approved for release by a committee in June, was withheld due to its “adverse findings”, according to sources. Following the news
report, the statistics ministry issued a statement saying it has decided to junk the survey because of “data quality” issues.
“The committee gave its recommendations for improving future NSO
surveys. It didn’t find any issues related to data collection and data validation related to the consumer expenditure survey of 2017-18,” the source said.
WHAT THE PANEL SAID
Expert committee did not flag data quality issues in the NSO’s consumer expenditure survey of 2017-18
It did recommend steps to improve future survey reports
The committee took note of rising divergence between the consumer expenditure survey and GDP data
The committee found a matching trend between falling wages and declining consumer expenditure in rural areas between 2011-12 and 2017-18
On the contrary, the committee corroborated the findings of the consumer expenditure survey report with the periodic labour force survey (PLFS) — the two household surveys conducted by the NSO
between July 2017 and June 2018. It found a decrease in average wage of workers between 2011-12 and 2017-18 by analysing the PLFS report, which was also withheld for release for five months till May 2019. “The falling wage in rural areas matched the declining consumer expenditure trend during this period,” the source added.
Chief Statistician Pravin Srivastava and Manna did not respond to questions.
As mentioned in the ministry’s official statement on Friday, the committee did find increasing divergence between the private final consumption
expenditure data, part of gross domestic product numbers, and the consumer expenditure data from the NSO surveys.
“The divergence has further increased in 2017-18 compared to 2011-12 and the committee recommended ways in which this can be plugged but in future surveys. The committee did not recommend the ministry to junk the report,” the source said.
Despite the approval of a working group on June 19, the consumer expenditure report was not referred to the NSC, an autonomous body supervising India’s statistical system, another official said. The expert committee was also set up without the knowledge of the working group chairman, a member of the committee said.