With data collection facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation is developing an online survey solution for capturing data via mobiles, web-based interface along with telephonic interviews as the new normal for the country’s statistical system, MoSPI Secretary and Chief Statistician of India Pravin Srivastava said Monday.
The Ministry has also formalised a loan from the World Bank for improving the data quality at state and national levels, he said, adding that a national integrated portal for all Indian official statistics will be launched soon.
“We have revamped and revised our data collection processes, we are educating our enumerators on how to maintain social distance and still be able to collect data. We are also developing a generalised survey solution, it’s going to be branded by the name of E-Sigma, and this will pave the way for more intelligent, more easy data to be captured using mobile devices…this revolution in data capturing will be supplemented and augmented by telephonic interviews as well as by web-based interfaces…all these interventions will be the new normal for the ministry and the entire statistical system where traditional data capturing systems will be facing a lot of challenges in adapting itself to the requirements of the country,” Srivastava said while addressing a webinar on National Statistics Day.
The government has not released the retail inflation numbers for April and May citing data collection issues due to the lockdown.
Speaking at the same event, Bibek Debroy, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, said health expenditure needs to be prioritised. “Given the paucity of resources, there has to be a switching of public expenditure, a reprioritisation of public expenditure.” Former PMEAC Chairman C Rangarajan, who was given the lifetime achievement award for statistics, flagged the importance of credible data. “National Statistical Commission was set up to monitor the statistical system for the country, the statutory recognition must come to it as early as possible. I also hope that there is a satisfactory end to the controversies that have recently arisen on data,” he said.
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