Seminar on “India Needs Statistics and Statisticians – Roles of ISS&RF”

Highlights

First Seminar after incorporation of the Foundation on 14 February 2019.

Meeting chaired by Shri D. P. Mondal, former DG and CEO, NSSO and attended by Shri K. D. Maiti, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, UNICEF, Nivedita Gupta, Chief Director, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare,  Prof. K. K. Tyagi, former Principal Scientist, ICAR-IASRI, Satyabrata Chakrabarti, former DDG, SSD, CSO, K. K. Srivastava and Akhilesh Kumar, Directors, SSD, CSO and Chayan Roy Choudhury, IT Specialist, besides founder members of the ISS&RF

Presentations by Founder Members of the Foundation

Estimation of Private Food Grains Stock in India – Siladitya Chaudhury. A conceptual and methodological study having policy imperatives for Ministry of Agriculture/ Food and Civil Supplies.

Sustainable Development Goals – Some Issues and Inferential Role of Statistics – Amitabha Panda. A presentation with full of statistical ideas to improve the monitoring mechanism of the SDGs.

Situational Assessment Survey on Tribal Population – Dr. B. B. Singh. A full-fledged survey proposal having scopes of reviewing constitutional provisions for schedules areas, impact analysis of Government schemes and mapping of composite development indices for tribal vis-à-vis non tribal in predominantly tribal areas.

Pilot Study for Independent Evaluation of LPG Connections Released under Pradhan Mantri Ujjawal Yojana (PMUJY) – Inderjeet Singh. A short and sweet pilot study for evaluation of a popular Government scheme which can be emulated for other schemes.

Survey Statistics and Data Management – Project Implementation Strategy – Dr. A. K. Choubey. A must to be followed by the ISS&RF for implementing its projects through Information Technology tools in Geo-spatial framework. He also focused on need of survey on Post Harvest Loss/ Food Loss and Marketing Cost.

Seminar discussed the relevance, the methodologies followed, and future actions required for converting the ideas into acceptable full-fledged projects. It felt that the based on the contents in presentations, projects proposals may be prepared and submitted to the concerned Ministries/ Agencies.

Shri D. P. Mondal in his remarks felt that the country and the statistical system needed such ventures and the members, having worked in the statistical system for a long time, the Foundation has the capacity and commitment to improve the statistical system. He said that the Foundation has come at a critical juncture and it should grab the opportunities to establish itself and to mark a difference. 

Shri D. K. Maiti congratulated the members and the Foundation and suggested a few strategies and focal points where the Foundation can work and should work.

  • United Nations looks for analytical reports and review of already available reports in better qualitative terms. The statistical reports should be more revealing.
  • Credibility and getting project are concomitant. Efforts should be focused, and the Foundation should exploit the opportunities available.
  • Objects have been clearly defined and now target /action may be made to convert these into outcomes. Foundation should categorize the objects as short term, medium term and long term and try to achieve the goals in a time bound manner. For this the strategies should be in place. IT stream would lead accuracy in achievements.
  • In the present scenario, there is more focus on data analysis and development of methodologies to get estimates at disaggregated level by using / integrating the already available surveys and databases. Internationally along with survey focus may be to support admin system to help monitoring SDG framework. The Foundation should work in that direction.
  • Foundation may help in conducting and associating with Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) of UNICEF for monitoring social SDGs in India.
  • The Foundation needs to work with some basic capital. More workshops/seminars should be organized.

Social Statistics Division of CSO felt that the ISS&RF can play a role in providing or making system for regular production of disaggregated data required for monitoring of the Tier 2 indicators under SDGs and for conceptualizing the standards and methodology for Tier 3 indicators. It may also study, analyze and improve the SDG India Baseline Report 2018 brought out by Niti Aayog and may help in creating the Research Cell in SSD of CSO.

Prof. K. K. Tyagi was happy that conduct of training programs on sample survey techniques and data analysis have been included as Objects of the Foundation. He felt that the ISS&RF needs to collaborate with the Universities and Institutions for orienting them to practical aspects of Statistics.  He advocated that the Foundation may get involved in Farm Management Surveys with focus on cost of cultivation.

Nivedita Gupta was very clear that clear insights, statistical literacy, data journalism can make the Foundation visible. It should be proactive and ready to provide its inputs in the public forum about the statistical news.

Satyabrata Chakrabarti felt that ISS&RF should identify the sectors/ areas where data inadequacy is a serious limitation in planning and implementation of projects and come out with proposals for filling in the gaps through surveys or methodology to estimate the indicators based on existing data. He talked of two way challenges, get project work, crate your creditability and then get more projects. ISS&RF may initiate voluntary research work and adopt new survey methods.

Chayan Roy Chaudhuri felt that the members have enough credibility from the work they have done, but for the foundation, this credibility can be garnered only through the successful completion of projects.  The Foundation needs to quickly apply for 12A and 80G certification and get the Foundation registered in DARPAN portal. There are several funding sources, probably UNICEF is one funding source that can fund new organizations based on fulfilling requirements. Foundation may look for institutional partnerships. The international and UN funding agencies will love to get into something that has the promise of sustaining and institutional collaboration is the most sustaining thing at present. For any survey activity, the Foundation may keep some budget for Ethical Review Committee approval which can cost around 40000 to 50000. Give competitive budget, you will have a chance of getting accepted, but if the budget is too low then there are generally some apprehensions about the quality. Budget may also include the day to day operations management costs apart from the institutional cost of 7% or 15% whatever allowed.