Pranab stresses need for ‘reliable, timely’ statistics

June 29th, 2008 - 7:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Sunday underlined the need for “reliable and timely” statistics to promote transparency in governance, meet environmental challenges and provide global food and energy security. “We must continue to produce reliable, relevant and timely data for the formulation and monitoring of policies in the interests of poor and the most vulnerable groups,” Mukherjee told a gathering here to mark the National Statistics Day.

Mukherjee, who refused to reply to any question on the India-US nuclear deal from the media, said there was need to develop a strategic framework and plans for statistical capacity and infrastructure.

“The quality of statistics being generated by a country contributes immensely to its reputation. It is not merely the question of availability of data, but its reliability and transparency,” he said.

“Environmental degradation, climate change and its concomitant effects, disaster management, and global good and energy security are only a few examples of such imperatives that have come to the fore in recent years.”

Since 2007, India has been observing June 29 as the National Statistics Day in memory of the country’s great statistician Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, who was also the chairman of the United Nations sub-commission on statistical sampling in 1947.

Although Mukherjee lauded the efforts of Indian agencies like the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) in producing quality data, he said a lot needed to be done.

“In a world rapidly getting integrated and where major issues of a global nature are becoming increasingly more important, it is incumbent for our statistical system to generate data, which are necessary to undertake analysis and facilitate policy decisions in a multilateral framework.”

Minister of state for Statistics and Programme Implementation G.K. Vasan said official statistics had multi-faceted dimensions and wide applications.

He said his ministry had initiated several measures like the introduction of Collection of Statistics Bill, 2007, to produce credible statistics.

“India official statistics full comply with the requirements of special data commission standards of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the government has introduced a centrally sponsored scheme for basic statistics for the local level development,” Vasan said.

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