Issue of gaps in collection of national statistics

Describe the functions of ministry of statistics. Critically analyse how the serious gaps in collection of national statistic is affecting the economic planning.

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation attaches considerable importance to coverage and quality aspects of statistics released in the country. The statistics released are based on administrative sources, surveys and censuses conducted by the Centre and State Governments and non-official sources and studies. The surveys conducted by the Ministry are based on scientific sampling methods. The Ministry has two wings, one relating to Statistics and the other Programme Implementation.

Major functions are:-

(i) Acts as the nodal agency for planned development of the statistical system in the country, lays down and maintains norms and standards in the field of statistics, involving concepts and definitions, methodology of data collection, processing of data and dissemination of results.

(ii) Coordinates the statistical work in respect of the Ministries/Departments of the Government of India and State Statistical Bureaus (SSBs)

(iii) Prepares national accounts as well as publishes annual estimates of national product, government and private consumption expenditure, capital formation, savings, estimates of capital STOCK and consumption of fixed capital, as also the state level gross capital formation of supra-regional sectors and prepares comparable estimates of State Domestic Product (SDP) at current prices.

(iv) Conducts large scale all-India sample surveys for creating the database needed for studying the impact of specific problems for the benefit of different population groups in diverse socio-economic areas, such as employment, consumer expenditure, housing conditions and environment, literacy levels, health, nutrition, family welfare, etc.

(v) Monitoring of the Twenty Point Programme (TPP).

Lack of real time data is impacting policy making in the following ways:

  • Genuine employment data not available – NSSO does a five yearly survey, which is used for GDP purposes for intervening years between two sampling periods. Therefore , planners have to extrapolate old data.
  • Overstated poverty level – India is trying to redesign its poverty line, govt. believes India has consistently overstated poverty level due to faulty data.
  • Improper GDP estimation – Over 34 months, the GDP estimate for the year is revised four times, fluctuations are seen when survey of industries data replace the index of industrial production quick estimates.
  • Delay in labour & manufacturing policy making – Labour policy & manufacturing policy needs data on unit labour costs, capacity utilisation of capital, etc, which is causing delay in proper implementation of these policies.
  • Whole sale price index – Not a genuine produces price index is available as it excludes services sectors therefore cannot be used make GDP comparable.
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