Prime Minister for new ways to generate data

September 9th, 2008 - 5:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) Describing India’s overall statistics compilation as reliable, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday called for evolving alternate methods to generate industrial and agricultural data.Singh said the massive upsurge in entrepreneurial activities for over a decade has seen a rapid increase in the number of industrial and service establishments.

“It is now clear, therefore, that alternate methods of generating industrial data will have to be evolved,” the prime minister said in his address to the national conference of states and union territories on statistics management here.

India’s industry registered a growth of 5.4 percent in June, as per the index for industrial production (IIP) data prepared by the state-run Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).

He also emphasised the need for a better data collection mechanism about agricultural sector, which logged 4.5 percent growth in the last fiscal.

Singh, also an economist of repute, said agricultural data relied heavily on the old land revenue system.

“With the weakening of land revenue system, the estimates of land use, which are central to any estimate of agricultural production, have become increasingly unreliable,” he said.

“New and innovative ways, therefore, will need to be evolved to tackle this important gap in our statistical system,” Singh said.

The prime minister said while satellite imagery provided an exciting option, India was still not at a stage where it could rely entirely upon remote sensing data to substitute for its on-ground weaknesses.

The ministry of statistics and programme implementation had organised the conference, which was attended by nearly 200 participants from the states, union territories, and central government departments.

“The acquisition, processing and dispersal of information are essential activities for any modern state to perform the role of economic management,” said Singh.

“It is of special importance in an open economy where information needs to be made available to non-government stakeholders. Information contributes to knowledge. Information also confers power. Information is undoubtedly a great economic asset,” he said.

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