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Policy Watch No. 16

Credible Data for the Public Good: Constraints, Challenges, and the Way Ahead [HTML and PDF]

Bits and bytes of information propel today’s knowledge society. This Data Revolution is as transformational as it is multi-dimensional. India, however, remains a laggard and is yet to harness the full potential of data for the public good.

In this Policy Watch, P. C. Mohanan, former Acting Chairman, National Statistical Commission (NSC), takes the reader through the data collection, analysis, and dissemination process in India. In particular, he points out the deficiencies in the institutional, implementational, and procedural elements of the country’s official statistics machinery. For a country endowed with a multiplicity of resources that are matched by the problems that confront it, the scientific use of data to address peoples’ issues has often been subverted for either political reasons or because of the inability of the structures that are in place to deliver timely and credible data for decision-makers.

As the rest of the world races ahead by adapting newer technologies and creating independent bodies that ensure credibility of data, India appears to not only stagnate but regress as well. The way out, Mohanan says, is to harness the available technologies in a meaningful manner, improve statistical literacy, and insulate the statistical system from political vested interests.

HTML Version

[PDF 549 KB]

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