Amid sharp criticism from home and abroad over allegations of suppressing macro-economic data, the Ministry of Statistics on Wednesday said that the National Statistical Office (NSO) has been providing primary data "free of cost".
Minister of Statistics Rao Indrajit Singh said in a written reply: "The key statistical products produced by the Ministry are released as per the Advance Release Calendar. Further, the Ministry has also made available all primary data collected to the public free of cost since April, 2019."
His response came on a question by MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor who said whether the merging of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) with the Central Statistics Office (CSO) to form the National Statistical Office (NSO) will "affect the timely release of the statistics for public research".
Rao said the merger of CSO and NSSO to form the NSO leverages the strengths of the two organisations in meeting the increasing demands of quality statistics.
"The government also adopted the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics (UNFPOS) in May, 2016, which strengthens the national statistical system in producing reliable data by adhering to internationally agreed professional and scientific standards," Rao said.
After the National Sample Survey Office's PLFS data, the publication of which was withheld, revealed that unemployment in the country was at a 45-year-high at 6.1 per cent in 2017-18, leaked reports earlier this month showed that consumer spending dropped for the first time since 1973 on weak rural demand.