The government’s repeated admission in parliament that it has no data on multiple subjects — from migrant labourers to farmer suicides — has brought on a Congress backlash. Today senior Congress leader and former Union minister Shashi Tharoor tweeted a list laced with sarcasm.
“No #data on migrant workers, no data on farmer suicides, wrong data on fiscal stimulus, dubious data on #Covid deaths, cloudy data on GDP growth — this Government gives a whole new meaning to the term #NDA!” read his tweet, accompanied by a cartoon.
On Sunday, Congress’s P Chidambaram used the government’s data dearth to attack it over the contentious farm bills.
“How will the (agriculture) Minister know which farmer sold his produce to which trader? How will he know the millions of transactions that will take place every day all over the country? If he does not have the data, how will he guarantee MSP is paid in every transaction?” the former Union Minister said.
So far, in response to questions in parliament, the government has admitted that it has no data on farmer suicides, migrants labourers who lost their lives in lockdown, the number of people who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak, the number of illegal immigrants in the country, the number of doctors who died due to covid and the total number of plasma banks in country.
The “no data” admissions of the government started last week as parliament resumed for monsoon session after a break of more than five months owing to the coronavirus outbreak.
On Monday, the government had admitted that it had no data on migrant deaths, adding that the opposition question on compensation “does not arise” under the circumstances.
“The Modi government does not know how many migrants died during lockdown… how many lost jobs. If you didn’t count… did nobody die?” Rahul Gandhi had said in a Hindi tweet.
The government’s subsequent admission that it had no data on the doctors who died because of covid had left the Indian Medical Association, the top doctors’ body in the country, livid.
“To feign that this information doesn’t merit the attention of the nation is abominable,” the IMA said. “It appears that they are dispensable. No nation has lost as many doctors and health care workers like India,” the premier organization said.
In case of illegal migrants, the Centre had said the data collection was an “ongoing process”.
The latest “no data” admission took place yesterday, when the home ministry had pointed to states saying they have failed to provide data on farmer suicides.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, “many states and union territories had reported ‘Nil’ data on suicides by farmers, cultivators and agricultural labourers,” Minister of State (Home Affairs) G Kishan Reddy said in a written statement to Rajya Sabha.
“Due to this limitation national data on causes of suicide in farming sector was untenable and not published separately,” he added.