Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has sarcastically labelled government’s responses to non-availability of vital COVID-19 data as: “NDA=No Data Available.”
Throughout the monsoon session this year the Centre has repeatedly admitted in both houses that it has no data on subjects that range from migrant labourers to farmer suicides.
Reacting to government’s helplessness, Tharoor tweeted a list laced with sarcasm:
“No #data on migrant workers, no data on farmer suicides, wrong data on fiscal stimulus, dubious data on #Covid deaths, cloudy data on GDP growth — this Government gives a whole new meaning to the term #NDA!” read his tweet, accompanied by a cartoon.
No #data on migrant workers, no data on farmer suicides, wrong data on fiscal stimulus, dubious data on #Covid deaths, cloudy data on GDP growth — this Government gives a whole new meaning to the term #NDA! pic.twitter.com/SDl0z4Hima
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 22, 2020
A couple of days back, former Finance minister P Chidambaram used this lack of information to attack the Centre over the contentious farm bills.
“How will the (agriculture) Minister know which farmer sold his produce to which trader? How will he know the millions of transactions that will take place every day all over the country? If he does not have the data, how will he guarantee MSP is paid in every transaction?” the former Union Minister said.
The government has failed to provide data for the period when lockdown was in effect which includes numbers on farmer suicides, migrants labourers’ deaths, people who lost their jobs due to corona pandemic, and most surprisingly, the number of doctors who died due to COVID.
“The Modi government does not know how many migrants died during lockdown… how many lost jobs. If you didn’t count… did nobody die?” Rahul Gandhi had said in a Hindi tweet.
The Indian Medical Association, the top doctors’ body in the country, has reacted strongly on the government’s admission that it had no data on the doctors who died because of COVID. “To feign that this information doesn’t merit the attention of the nation is abominable,” the IMA said. “It appears that they are dispensable. No nation has lost as many doctors and health care workers like India,” the premier organization said.
The home ministry has, in turn, blamed states for failing to provide data on farmer suicides. Minister of State (Home Affairs) G Kishan Reddy said in a written statement to Rajya Sabha, “The National Crime Records Bureau i.e. NCRB states that several states had reported ‘Nil’ data on suicides by farmers, cultivators and agricultural labourers.”