On Wednesday evening, India’s Chief Statistician Pravin Srivastava told HuffPost India that the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO’s) periodic labour force survey (PLFS) would take “at least a month” to be made public as data for December was still being analysed.
On Thursday morning, Business Standard’s Somesh Jha published a scoop based on numbers from the ‘missing’ report which showed that India’s unemployment rate stood at a whopping 45-year high of 6.1% in 2017-18.
This was the first annual household survey of the NSSO, conducted for the period July 2017-June 2018, as well as the first comprehensive study on jobs by a government agency after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s controversial demonetisation announcement in November 2016.
The last two non-government members of the National Statistical Commission (NSC) had resigned earlier this week, partly because of the government’s refusal to release the report, which the body had approved in December. This had led to speculation that the government was deliberately not releasing the NSSO report as the numbers were embarrassing.