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Govt gives Statistics Act penal power

Not furnishing information to the govt by individuals and companies has been made very costly.

Unwillingness to furnish information sought by the government from companies and individuals would be liable to punishments,including monetary penalty and jail,as per the Collection of Statistics Act,2008,notified today.

The Collection of Statistics Act,2008,which was enacted by Parliament in January,2009,comes to force from today and it repeals the archaic Collection of Statistics Act of 1953.

Under the new Act,failure to provide information could entail penalty of up to Rs 1,000 in case of individuals and Rs 5,000 in case of a company,the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) said in a statement.

“The Act provides penalties for neglect or refusal to furnish information. The penalty is up to Rs 1,000 for individuals (Rs 5,000 in case of a company),” it said.

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The Act provides for collecting statistics on economic,demographic,social,scientific and environmental aspects not only from industrial and commercial concerns but also from individuals and households.

To prevent misuse,it has been decided that information collected cannot be used as evidence for prosecution under any other law.

However,any person or company convicted of neglects or refuses to provide information will not escape just by payment of the one-time fine.

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“If the concerned person continues to neglect or refuse to furnish information after the expiry of 14 days from the date of conviction,then he may be punished with a further fine up to Rs 1,000 (Rs 5,000 in case of a company) for each day after the first during which the failure continues,” MOSPI added.

Prosecution for offences committed under the Act would be by way of a summary trial.

Under it,the central and state governments,besides union territories (UTs) and local government bodies like the panchayats and municipalities,have been empowered to collect any statistics.

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“Any of them may appoint a statistics officer for each subject of data collection and/or for each geographical unit,” the statement said.

To avoid duplication of surveys and prevent wastage of resources,the Act empowers the central government to make rules for avoiding duplication.

The rules made under the Act provide for designating a nodal officer at the centre and in each state and UT,who would advice the concerned ministries on steps to be taken to avoid unnecessary duplication.

“The Act provides for all methods of data collection,including oral interviews and filing of returns electronically,” MOSPI said.

To ensure confidentiality of data under the Collection of Statistics Act,2008,any disclosure of information collected from any individual or entity without ensuring secrecy of the identity of the respondent is prohibited.

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“Rules under the Act… were notified on May 16,2011,” MOSPI said.

First published on: 10-06-2011 at 01:03:37 pm
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