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JNU Prof CP Chandrasekhar quits Modi govt's panel on economic affairs over mob violence

CP Chandrasekhar, a Jawaharlal University professor, has resigned from the Standing Committee on Economic Statistics (SCES), which was formed recently by the government to review India's economic data. Prof Chandrasekhar's resignation came a day after the violence at the JNU campus left 24 students injured. "It's hard to work with a government in which you have lost faith," Prof Chandrasekhar told Business Standard, adding the JNU incident had shown that "we are now living in a different world".

The Centre last month formed a 28-member panel to review India's statistical system. The decision to constitute the panel to look into statistics related to economic activity was taken in wake of widespread criticism of the Narendra Modi government over shelving reports on economic activity and credibility of the official data. The panel will hold its first meeting review meeting on the IIP (Index of Industrial Production) data for November 2019 under former chief statistician Pronab Sen today.

In an email, Chandrasekhar informed all the committee members that he would not be able to serve on the panel anymore. "...I feel that, under current conditions, this committee is unlikely to be able to restore the credibility of the statistical system, which has been undermined in the recent past," he said, reported the daily. Interestingly, Chandrasekhar was also among 108 academicians who signed a joint statement in March 2019, flagging serious concerns over increasing "political interference" in the handling of economic data.

Violence broke out inside the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Sunday night as masked men armed with sticks and rods attacked students and teachers and damaged property on the campus.

At least 28 people, including JNU Students' Union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh, were injured. The Left-backed JNUSU and the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) have blamed each other for the violence that continued for nearly two hours.

The SCES has representation from various quarters. Apart from Sen as its Chairman, the panel comprises representatives from the United Nations, Reserve Bank of India, Finance Ministry, NITI Aayog, industry chambers, Tata Trust, and economists and statisticians from educational institutions. So far, only the Advisory Committee on National Accounts Statistics (ACNAS) has such a widespread representation.

The key responsibilities of the panel include a review of periodic labour force survey, annual surveys of industries, services and unorganised sectors, time use survey, index of service production, IIP, economic census, among others.


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