Lawmakers have returned to Parliament after more than five months as coronavirus cases continue to surge at the fastest pace than anywhere else in the world.
In three days since the Monsoon Session of the Parliament began, ‘no such data is maintained’ has become a recurring theme in the answers the government has provided for various questions posed by the Opposition.
Here’s a list of things the BJP-led central government says it has no data for:
1. No data on deaths of migrant workers during the lockdown
In response to a question on the number of labourers who died or were injured during migration to their homes during the lockdown, the government said there was no data available.
Such data has been manually compiled in efforts by the Stranded Workers Action Network and by researchers Thejesh GN, Kanika Sharma, Krushna and Aman, with the help of Roadscholarz,
“You did not count, does that mean they did not die?” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had asked on Tuesday.
2. No data, therefore no compensation for victims
In a similar question posed to the Labour ministry, the government added that not only did it not maintain data of migrant worker deaths, the question of compensation “did not arise” because no data was maintained.
3. No data on unorganised sector
The government said “no such proposal is under consideration” in response to question on whether it was collecting or collating data on the number of workers of the unorganised sector, contract workers and labourers in the country.
Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan had recently pointed out that the 23.9% fall in India’s economic growth in the first quarter of FY20-21 was “alarming” and that the numbers will probably be worse when “we get estimates of the damage in the informal sector”.
4. No data on health workers who died of COVID-19
India went into a 75-day national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to an unstarred question on the number of healthcare staff, including doctors, nurses, support staff and ASHA workers who have been affected by and died from COVID19, the government said no such data was maintained by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
According to the IMA Covid-19 data, as many as 2,238 doctors were infected with the disease and of them 382 lost their lives.
“If the government doesn’t maintain the statistics of the total number of doctors and healthcare workers infected by Covid- 19 and the statistics of how many of them sacrificed their life due to the pandemic, it loses the moral authority to administer the Epidemic Act 1897 and the Disaster Management Act,” the IMA said.
5. No data on murder of RTI activists
In response to an unstarred question K. Shamugasundaram of the DMK, the government said it had no data on RTI activists murdered in the country and the implementation of the Whistleblower protection scheme by various states.
6. No data on India’s position on world corruption list
In response to an unstarred question by TMC’s Sunil Kumar Mondal, the government said it maintained no data on India’s position in the list of corrupt countries in the world.
Transparency International’s annual list for 2019 had placed India at 80 on its Corruption Perceptions Index, a drop of two ranks from 2018. The organisation had referred to the problem with electoral bonds and questioned “unfair and opaque political financing”. It’s 2018 report had said, “Despite spectacular public mobilisation in 2011, where citizens demanded that the government take action against corruption and advocated for the passage of the comprehensive Jan Lokpal Act, these efforts ultimately fizzled and fell flat, with little to no movement on the ground to build the specialist anti-corruption infrastructure required.”
7. No data on political prisoners in jails
Government did not have data to provide on number of political prisoners under trial in response to CPI Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Visvam’s question.
“This information is not maintained by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), which compiles prison statistics reported to it by States and Union Territories, and publishes it in its annual report ‘Prison Statistics India’,” it said.
As a result, the question of how many political prisoners are currently in jail in response “does no arise”. (h/t Srinivas Kodali)
8. No data on Safai Karamcharis’ deaths during pandemic
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment told the Rajya Sabha it had no data on Safai Karamcharis who had died due to health and safety hazards related to cleaning hospitals and medial waste during the pandemic. (h/t Srinivas Kodali)
9. No data on number of plasma banks in country: Govt
In response to a question on the total number of plasma banks running at present to provide plasma therapy to COVID-19 patients in the country and if the government proposes to set up more plasma banks to cope with disease in the country, Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey said states had taken initiative to establish such banks but no central database of such banks is maintained.
Convalescent plasma therapy has not been recommended by the Ministry of Health as a mainstay of COVID-19 therapy and there is no proposal under consideration to set up plasma banks, the Rajya Sabha was informed.
10. No data on police personnel who died of COVID-19
The home ministry told the Lok Sabha the Centre did not maintain data of police personnel who had died of COVID-19.
LiveLaw pointed out that the non-maintenance of such data indicated the families of such personnel had not received any compensation from the Central government.
11. No data on police excesses during lockdown
The home ministry told the Rajya Sabha it maintained no data on the excessive police measures taken during lockdown which led to harassment/injury/death of individuals.
Minister of State G Kishen Reddy data said such complaints and cases was not maintained centrally since police and public order were State subjects as per 7th schedule of the Constitution.
The Central government has imposed a national lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 on March 24. The lockdown lasted for over 75 days.
(This article will continue to be updated through the current session of the Indian Parliament.)