The Statistical System in India and Various Databases

Session Report
Divyansh Dwivedi

IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute conducted Data Analytics for Policy Research, an immersive pre winter school program, and a one month immersive online hands on certificate training course. On Day 2 of the programme, our third speaker, Dr. Arjun Kumar, Director, Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, conducted a session on The Statistical System in India and an Introduction to Various Official and Other Databases.

Dr. Kumar initiated the session by enlightening the participants about the statistical system in India, and the databases that act as a constant pillar of support in policy making, decision based incentives, and development of society as a whole.

This session report outlines a step-by-step information for The Statistical System in India and an Introduction to Various Official and Other Databases.

Role of Statistical Landscape in India

The speaker very clearly and precisely told the participants how the statistical system in India plays a pivotal role in shaping evidence-based policymaking, economic planning, and societal development.

This session report provides an insightful overview of the statistical landscape in India, as discussed by Dr. Arjun Kumar, shedding light on various official and other databases that serve as valuable reservoirs of information, as shared by sir during his session.

The Statistical System in India:

India’s statistical system is characterized by a multi-tiered structure involving both central and state agencies. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) at the central level serves as the nodal agency responsible for formulating policies and coordinating statistical activities. State Statistical Bureaus complement these efforts by focusing on state-specific data collection and analysis. The Central Statistical Office (CSO) and the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) are integral components of the statistical machinery. CSO primarily focuses on national income estimates, while NSSO conducts large-scale sample surveys covering various aspects of socio-economic life.

Official Databases:

  • National Sample Survey (NSS):

The NSS conducts periodic surveys on diverse topics, providing valuable insights into consumption patterns, employment, and living standards. These surveys serve as a crucial foundation for policy formulation.

  • Census of India:

Conducted every ten years, the Census of India captures demographic and socio-economic data at a granular level. It serves as a comprehensive repository for understanding population trends and distribution.

  • Economic Census:

The Economic Census, conducted every five years, focuses on the structure of the economy, providing detailed information on various economic activities, establishments, and enterprises.

  • National Accounts Statistics (NAS):

Maintained by the CSO, NAS offers a comprehensive overview of the country’s economic performance, including GDP estimates, sector-wise contributions, and growth rates.

The speaker further shed the light on some other notable databases that provide great support in policy shaping, and calculation of statistics of India.

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Database:

The RBI provides extensive data on monetary policy, banking, and financial stability. It is a valuable resource for researchers and policymakers interested in understanding India’s financial landscape.

  • Ministry of Finance Databases:

Various departments under the Ministry of Finance maintain databases related to public finance, taxation, and expenditure. These databases contribute to a nuanced understanding of fiscal policies.

  • Health Management Information System (HMIS):

Managed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, HMIS contains health-related data, offering insights into the healthcare system’s performance, disease prevalence, and infrastructure.

  • National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB):

NCRB compiles crime-related statistics, aiding law enforcement agencies and policymakers in formulating strategies to address crime and enhance public safety.

Apart from the points mentioned above, sir discussed about various other roles that statistical system has a role to play, like, the statistical system aids in planning infrastructure development by providing data on areas such as urbanization, transportation, and communication. This information is vital for identifying gaps and prioritizing projects to enhance overall infrastructure. It extracts data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Ministry of Finance contribute to the formulation of monetary and fiscal policies. Information on inflation rates, interest rates, and fiscal deficits guides decisions to maintain economic stability.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) compiles crime-related statistics, assisting law enforcement agencies and policymakers in devising strategies for crime prevention and ensuring public safety. Further, there were various issues and challenges that were discussed, enlisted as Survey Fatigue, Coverage Gaps, Integration of Databases, Accessibility, Transparency of data, Data redundancy, and Data infrastructure investment.

However, Statistical data allows policymakers to identify vulnerable populations and areas in need of targeted interventions. This ensures that policies are tailored to address specific challenges and disparities, fostering inclusive development. It provides a framework for monitoring and evaluating the impact of policies over time. Regular surveys and data updates enable policymakers to assess the effectiveness of interventions and make adjustments as needed.

By providing comprehensive and reliable data, it empowers policymakers to formulate informed strategies that address the diverse and complex challenges facing the nation. The continual evolution and refinement of the statistical system are crucial to meeting the dynamic needs of a rapidly changing society, sir added.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the statistical system in India is a dynamic framework that evolves to meet the demands of a rapidly changing society. The diverse official and other databases serve as pillars of information, empowering researchers, policymakers, and the public with the insights needed to drive informed decisions and contribute to the nation’s progress.

As India continues on its developmental trajectory, a robust and evolving statistical system remains crucial for navigating the complexities of a diverse and dynamic nation. By providing comprehensive and reliable data, it empowers policymakers to formulate informed strategies that address the diverse and complex challenges facing the nation. The continual evolution and refinement of the statistical system are crucial to meeting the dynamic needs of a rapidly changing society, the speaker added.

Posted by Chaitanya Deshpandea Research Intern at IMPRI.

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