The Centre came under fire from VCK MP D Ravikumar on Tuesday, even as he demanded the publication of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data. The data, a compilation of crime across the country released annually, has not been published by the BJP government since 2016. The report serves as an important tool in understanding law and order across states as well as in recommending policy changes, including to its assessment methods.
In its reply to the Tamil Nadu MP, the Ministry of Home Affairs pinned the blame on states for not having submitted data as per the ‘revised format.’
The comprehensive report, titled ‘Crime in India’, was last published in 2017 for crimes in the year 2016. Reports for 2017 and 2018 are yet to be filed. When the Villupuram MP raised the matter in Parliament, G Kishan Reddy, Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, responded stating that the Crime in India report for 2017 has not been finalised by the NCRB.
“With a view to ensure that published data suits the requirement of various stakeholders, NCRB has comprehensively revised the proforma for collecting crime statistics. NCRB has trained state/union territory personnel on the new format. The data in the revised proforma from all states/union territories has not been received,” he replied.
Speaking to TNM, MP Ravikumar termed it an evasive reply. “This is the first time that there is such a delay. Usually, the report is released within the same year. Every year, after the data is released, there is a huge outcry in the media about the rising rates of farmer suicides, violence against women and SC/ ST communities. So I suspect they want to hide something, they are wantonly delaying the publication of the NCRB data,” he said.
While the MHA has passed the buck to states, it may be recalled that the NITI Aayog report on the country-wide health index released in June was published without data from West Bengal. The report simply used data from the previous year. “As West Bengal did not submit data on the portal, the overall and incremental performance scores were generated based on pre-filled indicator data for 12 indicators and for the remaining 11 indicators the data from the Base Year were repeated for the Reference Year.” the report read.
With the nation in the throes of an agrarian crisis, the NCRB data assumes significance since it also records farmer suicides. According to one report in The Hindu, a senior government official was anonymously quoted as saying that except for two states, 27 others had submitted the NCRB data in the required format. While West Bengal and Bihar had caused delays in the publication of the data, the former reportedly submitted the data after ‘a lot of persuasion’.
“This is just like the NSSO data on unemployment which the government had refused to accept,” he added in reference to the National Sample Survey Office’s data showing a 45-year high in unemployment in the country. Business Standard revealed a leaked report in January which was dubbed as ‘fake news’ by the government. However, soon after the Lok Sabha polls which saw the BJP storm to power for a second term, the numbers were officially released.
He said, "If the government releases the data then they have to accept the truth and acknowledge increasing violence against minorities like mob lynchings and caste killings."