ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Loss of Job, Work, and Income in the Time of COVID-19

The counter-intuitive nature of the results of the Periodic Labour Force Survey 2019–20 is unravelled by arguing that in a situation of exogeneous shock, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the poor and vulnerable working people will be forced to engage in some kind of economic activity for sustaining...

Designing an Effective Data Protection Regulator

The revised Personal Data Protection Bill, expected to be tabled in the current monsoon session of Parliament, is a significant move towards India’s first dedicated personal data protection legislation. One of the proposals is a data protection authority, a cross-sectoral regulator that will significantly influence the Indian regulatory landscape. Against the backdrop of these developments, the author seeks to draw out the appropriate regulatory design keeping in mind essential questions of India’s existing regulatory capacity, framework, and jurisprudence.

The SRS Data on Early Childhood Mortality in India

Researchers have evaluated the quality of Sample Registration System data in the past and found errors in the estimated under-fi ve mortality rate. Discrepancies were observed in the age-specifi c death rates at ages 0–1 and infant mortality rate for India and state published by the Offi ce of the Registrar General of India in the SRS statistical report for 2018 and it was found that the published IMR and U5MR in the statistical report of many of the states are substantially different from the estimated IMR and U5MR in the life table constructed from the ASDRs published by the ORGI. Such errors are likely to incorrectly measure mortality gaps across population subgroups, for example, gender.

Technological Federalism

“Technological federalism” or the interface of the landscape of technological and data governance with the federal structure, as enshrined in the Constitution of India, needs to be ideally adjudicated upon. Till the time it happens, it needs to be theorised and understood in detail. The centralisation of data, digital architectures as well as decision-making will be inevitable in the absence of a new perspective.

Making Data Count

The Uncounted by Alex Cobham, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2020; pp 227, price not mentioned.

Data Soldiers

Researchers and academia seldom think about the foot soldiers who collect data by travelling to villages, blocks, or districts and interviewing households and communities.

New IT Rules, 2021

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 are designed to further empower the state and allow the executive considerable powers to shape public discourses. On the one hand, the state now demands access to all information about the content and origins of every digital communication, a measure that will weaken the right to privacy. On the other hand, digital content is now subject to both self-regulation as well as extensive surveillance and regulation designed to allow substantial control by the executive over content.

Disastrous Decade for Data

In recent years, the Indian official data has been challenged for many reasons, most of them arising out of the perception that the government is reluctant to release unfavourable data. These doubts have been exacerbated by the controversy posed by the debate around Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Population Register, and National Register of Citizens and the weakening of established institutions like the National Statistical Commission. The COVID-19 pandemic has further upset the data collection so that the first phase of the decennial population census and the proposed NPR exercise now stand postponed. Questions on credibility of official data and the pandemic-induced problems have come at a time when technology offers solutions to data collection, processing and dissemination. The initiatives launched by the government to improve the statistical system utilise these possibilities.

Recent Shenanigans in Indian Statistics

The instances of data suppression and leaks, in recent times, inadvertently reaffirm the integrity and professionalism of the official statisticians, but categorically indicate towards ministerial obtrusion in data dissemination.

Is Periodic Labour Force Survey, 2017–18 Comparable with Employment–Unemployment Survey, 2011–12?

Towards improving the existing system of collecting data on socio-economic parameters, the National Sample Survey Office introduced the Periodic Labour Force Survey in 2017–18 by replacing its previous quinquennial rounds on the employment–unemployment situation. There has been a significant restructuring of the previously existing questionnaire, survey methodology, and inquiry schedule. The advantages of the new PLFS data are listed, and inputs for further improvements are provided.

From Jobless to Job-loss Growth

The unprecedented decline in the absolute number of workers in the Indian economy in recent times has been a subject of debate and a matter of public concern. A closer look at the data for the period 2011–12 and 2017–18 shows that it is the net result of a dynamic process of job creation and destruction. Those who have lost jobs are all with low education, that is, less than secondary level of education. From a gender perspective, rural women workers are the net losers. From a social point of view, the net losers belong to two groups: Muslims and Hindu Other Backward Classes. These are clear signs of rural India in distress with strong gender and social dimensions.

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