Government bars committee members from criticising official stats

Economy


New Delhi: Amid controversy over official jobs and growth data, the government has barred members of various committees from sharing any confidential data or deliberations.

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) has formulated a code of ethics for members of the various committees constituted by it or by the agencies funded by it.

“The code of ethics… is being notified to define and to set out certain standards of conduct for the members of the committees in order to protect the confidentiality of the data/information acquired by them by virtue of their membership in such committees,” the ministry said in a notification.

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The ministry said in the notification that no member shall criticise the work of the committee or organisation or its members through any media since “the decisions taken by the committee are done in a collaborative and collective manner”.

The directive comes in the wake of members of a committee on jobs leaking details of a report after quitting the panel. The report of the Periodic Labour Force Survey showed India’s unemployment rate in 2017-18 at 6.1%.

The code, which is applicable to all members of the committees, including the chairperson or co-chairperson, prohibits them from publishing “any information or data or part of the deliberations available to them by virtue of their membership of the committee, in any media platforms including, but not limited to, print or TV or electronic or online or social media”.

Former members can only share information and data which are available in the “public domain through official releases”.

The former members have also been asked to “respect and maintain the confidentiality of information or data shared with them during the term of the committee as well as the confidentiality of the deliberations in which they participated unless such information or data is otherwise generally available in the public domain through official releases”.

MoSPI has also directed the chairperson of the committee to lay down the norms for a quorum for the committee and its sub-committees “in cases where it has not been specified in the terms of reference, for taking key decisions and making recommendations”.



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