ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Agricultural Labour Enquiry.

Editorial from Volume XIII, No. 11, March 18, 1961.

Rarely has Delhi been so agitated over so technical a question as the comparability of a set of statistics and that, too, in so remote a field as that of the income and consumption of the families of agricultural labourers. True enough, agricultural labour households form nearly one-third of the total rural population. True also, that they might be potentially ex-plosive political material. Some concern for them in a pre-election year is, therefore, under-standable, but not this furore over a purely technical question of comparability of statis-tics which raised an echo in Parliament when the Deputy Finance Minister, Shri B R Bhagat intervened in the debate to rebut Acharya Kripalanai’s statement that agricultural labour was worse off today, according to the Report of the Second Agricultural Labour Enquiry. The Deputy Finance Minister cautioned the House against “statistical illusions created by a plethora of enquiries”. It will be recalled that this report...was placed on the table of the Lok Sabha some time ago and that the Planning Commission has been so upset over it that it has appointed a commit-tee of experts to look into it and see what was wrong... Meanwhile, the Ministry of Informa-tion has done its job by withholding the report from the press...It would be useless to suggest, however humbly, that by withholding the report, the Ministry has not only added to the confu-sion but deliberately prevented an understand-ing of the situation and intelligent reporting.

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