Economic data under a cloud
The merger of two statistics bodies would bring such data more directly under the control of the government
During the last five years, there have been a number of controversies over economic data presented by the government and by relatively autonomous bodies like the National Sample Survey Office. The controversies have been quite sharp, leading to two senior members of the National Statistical Commission resigning earlier this year. These controversies, distinct from debates about estimation methods that experts often indulge in, raised questions about the reliability of the official raw data and inferences made from them.
On May 23, the day the results of the general elections were announced, the government declared that the NSSO would be merged with the Central Statistics Office of the government. The new entity would be named the National Statistical Office. The NSO would be directly under the government headed by the secretary of the ministry of statistics and programme implementation. This was different from the original plan to merge the NSSO and other statistics-producing organizations into one body that would be accountable to Parliament and not directly to the government. This merger would bring official economic data more directly under the control of the government.
The control is likely to generate a number of apprehensions about the quality and the reliability of official data. The first apprehension is that greater the government control, lesser the autonomy for data-gathering processes. In the light of recent government behaviour, this would raise serious concerns about the veracity of national statistics.
Please click here to read more.
Tagged with: Cso Central Statistics Office Ministry Of Statistics And Programme Implementation Mospi Nsc Nso Nsso National Sample Survey Office National Statistical Commission National Statistical Office