RTI practised by govt: Chidambaram's dig over economic data 'suppression'

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday took a swipe at the Centre over allegations of suppressing data on consumer spending, saying this is the right to information practised by the government.

The former finance minister's remarks come after a media report cited the latest consumption expenditure survey by the National Statistical Office (NSO) to claim that consumer spending fell for the first time in more than four decades in 2017-18, primarily driven by slackening rural demand.

The report also claimed the NSO report was approved to be released on June 19 this year but was withheld by the government agency owing to its "adverse" findings.

"Last year, data on employment was suppressed. Now, data on consumption is being suppressed. This is the right to information practised by the government," Chidambaram, who is lodged in jail in cases of corruption and money laundering, said in a tweet in Hindi.

In another tweet, he also urged journalist Aatish Taseer and Amnesty India head Aakar Patel to not "give up the fight".

In the tweet posted by his family on his behalf, Chidambaram said, "Hang in there Mr Aatish Taseer and Mr Aakar Patel. Don't give in to intimidation, don't give up the fight."

Last week, the Ministry of Home Affairs revoked the OCI card of British author Taseer, saying he concealed the fact that his father was a Pakistani.

Critics have countered it, claiming Taseer was being targeted for his write-up "Divider-in-Chief" in the Time magazine which was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the run-up to the 2019 parliamentary election.

The CBI on Friday registered a case against Amnesty International India and three of its associate organisations for alleged violation of laws pertaining to Rs 36 crore foreign funding.

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