The government will aim to release employment data within five months of conducting the relevant surveys and will seek to align those releases with GDP data in the long term, the statistics ministry told a parliamentary body, which explained the significant delay in the release of “one of the Key Socio-Economic Indicators” for policy making.
The Standing Committee on Finance, chaired by the BJP’s Jayant Sinha, called on the Statistics Ministry to reduce delays in releasing the reports based on the Periodic Labor Force Survey (PLFS), noting that both annual and quarterly results The 2017 survey was plagued by delays.
For example, while the annual PLFS report for 2019-20 was released in July 2021, the quarterly report for July-September 2020 was released in August 2021. Acknowledging the need to reduce the delays, GP Samanta, Secretary, Department of Statistics and Programs Implementation, said attempts are underway to use better technology and curb these delays.
“From the current time lag of nine months, maybe all at once, it will be difficult to get to two months. But gradually, nine months or seven months, we will improve this in the near future,” Mr. Samanta told the panel, noting that timeliness is as crucial as the quality of the data to ensure its usefulness as a policy tool.
“We can easily reduce the delay from nine months at the beginning to at least four or five months. Then … adjust it to the GDP frequency in the long term, it will be good enough,” he added. As of now, PLFS data has been released through March 2021, and data for the next quarter is expected in 15 days, Mr Samanta said.
When asked by MEPs about the global benchmark and whether it would take a year for employment data to be released, the Minister replied: “Definitely not. The guideline varies from country to country, between maybe two months and five months. We try to reach this benchmark.”