New Delhi: In a major fallout of Sunday’s violence on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus, CP Chandrasekhar, eminent economist and a professor at the university, resigned from the recently-constituted 28-member Standing Committee on Statistics (SCES), citing the situation on the campus.
The committee, formed last month, is chaired by former chief statistician Pronab Sen. It was set up to improve the quality of data amid criticism of the government over ‘political interference’ and is scheduled to meet later today.
In his resignation letter, mailed to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPM), under which the committee has been set up, he wrote, “I regret to inform you that due to the current situation in JNU, where I stay, I will be unable to attend the meeting.”
He added that under current conditions, the committee, in any case, would be unable to restore the credibility of the economic system, which, he said, had been undermined in the recent past. He, however, thanked his colleagues within the statistical system in their efforts to build a robust and credible statistical base.
Referring to them, he wrote, “It is unfortunate that political pressures have that political pressures have reduced their autonomy now and efforts to consolidate a well-designed system are being subverted. I will not be able to serve in the committee in such circumstances.”
Last March, a group of 108 economists, in a statement, had called for the restoration of ‘institutional independence,’ alleging ‘political interference’ in influencing statistical data in India. The trigger for their statement was a controversy over a revision of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as withholding of the employment data by the National Statistical Survey Organisation (NSSO).
Last November too, a group of 200 economists had written to the Centre, demanding that it release the 2017-18 Consumer Expenditure Survey which showed a sharp decline in average consumption, after it tried to ‘suppress’ the same.