On the first day of G-20 summit, Congress accuses Modi govt. of suppressing inconvenient data 

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Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. File.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. File.
| Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Attacking the government on the first day of the G-20 summit, citing the more than three-year delay in conducting the census, the Congress on September 8 called it “unprecedented failure” which has led to an estimated 14 crore people being excluded from their food entitlements. The party also accused the government of “suppressing” data that it finds “inconvenient”. 

“Nearly, every other G20 country has managed to conduct the Census, despite COVID-19, including other developing countries like Indonesia, Brazil, and South Africa. The Modi government is so inept and incompetent that it has been unable to carry out India’s most important statistical exercise that has been conducted on schedule since 1951. This is an unprecedented failure in the history of our nation,” party’s general secretary (organisation) Jairam Ramesh said in a statement here. 

G20 Summit Delhi 2023 September 8 updates

In absence of census, he said, an estimated 14 crore Indians being excluded from their food entitlements assured to them under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). Under NFSA, 67% of Indians are entitled to food rations. Since the Modi government failed to conduct the Census in 2021, it only offers NFSA coverage to 81 crore people based on the 2011 Census, whereas 95 crore Indians are entitled to the NFSA coverage, going by current estimates of the population. New beneficiaries are not being added and people are being denied their rights for at least two years now. 

Caste Census

Mr. Ramesh also attacked the government for suppressing the data of the 2011 Socio-Economic Caste census. And going a step further, he said, the government also opposed the State-level caste census in Bihar. “Without establishing the count, categorisation and characterisation of the most numerous OBC population, it is impossible to ensure adequate development and social justice for all Indians. We firmly believe in the principle of parity not charity, for which the Caste Census is essential,” Mr. Ramesh said. 

The Congress leader claimed that the Modi-government “discredits, discards, or even discontinues collecting any data that it finds inconvenient to its narrative.” To back the charge, Mr. Ramesh cited news reports that the 2022-23 Consumer Expenditure Survey(CES) is likely to be held back by the government until after the 2024 elections.  “Although it was completed in July 2023. The Modi government is obviously afraid that its colossal mismanagement and bad governance will be exposed by the CES,” he said. 

Similarly, he said, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) of 2019-20 exposed the lies of Modi Government—open defecation had not been eliminated, and the prevalence of anaemia increased among women and children. “Embarrassed by its gross underperformance in health indicators, the Modi government suspended the Director of the International Institute of Population Sciences, which conducts the NFHS; it has also stopped measuring anaemia from NFHS-6,” he added. 

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