The Central government recently suspended Professor KS James, the director of the International Institute of Population Studies, that works with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to conduct important studies such as National Family Health Survey, Global Adult Tobacco Survey among others. The government cited irregularities in recruitment as the reason for suspension, as academics came out in support of him. The opposition parties claim that this suspension reflects the government’s uneasy relationship with data-based evidence.
In 2019, PC Mohanan from the National Statistical Commission quit saying that one of the reasons was the late release of unemployment data measured under the National Sample Survey Office NSSO. The data that was officially released after the election results showed that joblessness was up to 6.1% in the country then, the highest it had been for 45 years. The government has recently also rejected the data released by the World Health Organisation related to excess deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-2021.
Suno India’s Menaka Rao speaks with Dr Aashish Gupta, a demographer and a sociologist. His research looks at the interrelations between health, environment, and inequality in developing countries. He has been published extensively on various subjects including Covid-19 related mortality, life expectancy, open defecation in relation to gender, and caste among other variables.
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