As the Monsoon Session of the Parliament continues, the Government has asserted that it does not have data on several crises that have cropped up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And amid the massive backlash that these admissions have prompted, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor hit back with a stinging tweet on Tuesday.
"No data on migrant workers, no data on farmer suicides, wrong data on fiscal stimulus, dubious data on COVID-19 deaths, cloudy data on GDP growth — this Government gives a whole new meaning to the term NDA!" Tharoor tweeted. Alongside, he shared a post wherein the acronym for the National Democratic Alliance had been changed to 'No Data Available'.
Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Gangwar had said in Parliament last week that the government had no record of deaths of migrant workers during the pandemic, and as such, the question of compensation did not arise. He had later issued a clarification over the same.
But this is not an isolated incident. There was again a furore as the Centre said that it did not have data on farmer suicides, blaming states for the issue. The Centre had said that many states and Union Territories had not provided details of farmer suicides and hence, the national data on the causes of suicide in the farming sector was "untenable" and could not be published. Nor did the government seem to have data available on exactly how many migrants had lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
In another question related to the migrant crisis, upon being asked as to how many migrants lost their jobs, the government had again said that it had no data. Other issues pertaining to the pandemic too have evoked a similar response. On Saturday, the central government told Members of Parliament that it has no data on the number of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that have faced closure during the lockdown period.
"The data in respect of Police personnel who died due to COVID-19 across the country is not maintained centrally,” read a written reply on the number of police personnel who had died due to the pandemic. Similarly, the Centre said that Health being a state subject, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare did not have centrally maintained data on the number of healthcare workers who had died in the pandemic.