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‘Don’t overload anganwadi workers with data collection’

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Meeting: Pronab Sen (left), Chief Statistician of India and Secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, at the regional conference in Bangalore on Wednesday.
Meeting: Pronab Sen (left), Chief Statistician of India and Secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, at the regional conference in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Special Correspondent

Better coordination between Ministries and CSO stressed

Panel to be formed to go into details of crop area statistics

‘Strengthening administrative data collection

at primary level needed’

Bangalore: National Statistical Commission (NSC) Chairman Suresh D. Tendulkar on Wednesday referred to several common weaknesses in the National State Statistical System and expressed his opposition to overloading the anganwadi workers with extensive data collection assignments at the cost of their primary responsibilities.

Inaugurating a regional conference of Ministries in charge of statistics in the southern States here, he said weaknesses in the National State Statistical System could be set right by better coordination between the Central Ministries and Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).

“We should be careful not to overload anganwadi workers. In stead, we should computerise basic records so that the existing sources provide as much of the required local level data from the agencies already working in the field,” Prof. Tendulkar said.

The Chairman said the NSC, headed by C. Rangarajan in 2001, had noted several weaknesses in the statistical system and the deterioration in administrative statistics at the primary level; weak coordination between the Centre and the States, as well as between the Ministries and the CSO; and weak cooperation between the Directorate of Economics and Statistics and the other departments in States.

Data on crops

Prof. Tendulkar said statistics on crop area and production, which depend on the village-level functionaries, had suffered due to less priority given to the area and output enumeration by the Patwaris and other village functionaries, who have been loaded with other responsibilities. The NSC had recommended the formation of a high-level committee consisting of agricultural experts to go into the details of crop area statistics. The panel would be constituted soon, he said. Estimation of the State’s domestic product; estimation of area and production of crops; civil registration; and statistics of local area development are four major areas of official statistics, he said, and he stressed the need to strengthen the administrative data collection at the primary level.

Minster for Minor Irrigation, Planning and Statistics Govind M. Karjol said the State had been implementing the World Bank-aided India Statistical Strengthening Project (ISSP) and the focus of the project was on upgrading the technical, statistics and institutional capacity with regard to collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics.

A Karnataka State Statistical Development Agency would be set up to implement the project. The Government had proposed to set up a training institute as part of ISSP and it was looking for suitable land to establish a training institute in Bangalore or any other location in the State, he said. Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao said one-third of the posts remained vacant in the Directorate of Economics and Statistics and staff had not been appropriately trained on collection, storage and dissemination of data.

State Planning Board Deputy Chairman D.H. Shankaramurthy said the Government had decided to prepare district-wise human development index reports. Pronab Sen, Secretary, Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation and R.S. Deshpande, Director, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore were present.

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