NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha today passed a bill which empowers the government to collect statistical data from Jammu and Kashmir to help design holistic policy in the larger interest of people of the country.
Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill 2017 will facilitate in organising data collection under the provisions of principal act throughout the country including the state of Jammu and Kashmir, said Statistics Minister D V Sadanand Gowda said.
Clarifying to the apprehensions expressed by various members that it would compromise with the Article 370 of the Constitution that provides special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Gowda said, the bill does not affect individuals of the state and it does not give arbitrary power to the central government.
It will not violate Article 370, he said, adding, this was necessary in the larger interest of the country and people of J&K.
As per the statement objects and reason, “the amendments proposed in the Bill, inter alia, seeks to extend the Statistics Act, 2008 to the State of Jammu and Kashmir in so far as it relates to any Statistical survey relating to any matter falling under any of the entries specified in List I (Union List) or List III (Concurrent List) in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution as applicable to that State.”
It will empower the central government and each state government to designate one of its officers as nodal officer to coordinate and supervise the statistical activities and to exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as may be made by rules.
“It will also strengthen the data collection,” he said.
The government has decided to launch a periodic labour survey in 2017-18 to measure employment and unemployment characteristics every quarter and annually. We will have quarterly employment data as soon as survey methodology is finalised.
Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) said the government is trying to create trouble in J&K through this bill just because it has brute majority.
“Why is this government in hurry to dilute Article 370? ..The central government legislative power is limited to defence, external affairs and telecom,” he said.
Thupstan Chhewang, BJP member from the state, said the time has come to abolish Article 370.
Assuring that there would be complete secrecy, Gowda said there are certain stringent provisions under which data will be secure.
“Nobody should have apprehension about protection of data and its security,” he said.
The minister said the bill also tries to address the legislative vacuum created due various Acts and the passage will address the issue.
“The Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 and the Jammu and Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010, does not cover the matters specified in Union List in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution as applicable to Jammu and Kashmir under the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954,” he said.
The Central Law is not applicable to matters specified in List III of Concurrent List as applicable to Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
“Thus, there was a legislative vacuum in respect of the statistical matters in the Union List or Concurrent List applicable to Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.