Govt Must Ensure Reliable Data Policy

The question of the quality of government statistics in the country is getting deeper. 

In the last four months, three members of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council have expressed concern over this. 

Keep in mind, questions on statistics have been raised earlier also, but the special thing is that now these questions are being raised from within the system itself. 

Whatever may be the reasons behind this, it is important in the sense that now the hope of starting efforts towards solving this problem has increased. 

It is also necessary because these figures reveal the challenges related to economic policy making.

Making policies without reliable data is like shooting in the dark. As far as this problem is concerned, our statistical system is flawed at two levels. 

One is that the timetable is not strictly followed in the collection of primary data. The biggest example in this regard is the delay in the census. 

It is true that one of the reasons for this was also the unexpected and unprecedented circumstances created by the Corona pandemic, but that challenge has been over for a long time. 

This delay in the census is a very serious issue, but it is not limited to that. 

The Consumer Expenditure Survey and the Economic Census are also getting delayed. 

These are also affecting the monthly inflation reading and GDP data.

The second flaw in our data is that complaints are coming from the users regarding its quality. 

If we look at these two errors in totality, we find ourselves in a very weak position in terms of data. 

The danger is that in such a situation, knowing everything about our problems and the ways to deal with them, we will adopt wrong policies just because the data related to them is not correct. 

By the way, it is also to be kept in mind that these disturbances are not of today. These have been around for a long time and have been increasing gradually. 

The National Statistical Commission was formed in 2006 itself, whose purpose was to set standards for activities related to statistics.

This commission was to be empowered through legislation. But 17 years have passed, the law has not yet been made. 

Considering the suggestions that came in this regard, one important proposal was that the members of this commission should be selected through a committee consisting of MPs from different parties. 

Emphasis was also laid on ensuring its financial autonomy. These suggestions are not old. The systems involved in data collection must be absolutely free from allegation of political bias. 

Ensuring reliable data is imperative and it should not be too late to take appropriate steps in this direction.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

To Top