1.4.1 The first meeting of the Commission was held on 9 February 2000 at Hyderabad. At this meeting, the Commission discussed the salient features of the Indian Statistical System with special reference to the credibility, timeliness and adequacy of the statistics generated by the system. It further deliberated on the modalities of its functioning so as to accomplish the objectives. To facilitate focused discussion on varied spheres of the statistical system, seven Sub-groups were formed in the following areas:
National Accounts Statistics
Industry, Commerce, Corporate Sector and Price Statistics
Services and Infrastructure Statistics
Financial and External Sector Statistics
Statistical Systems, Information and Communication Technology Needs, Human Resource Development, Legislation and Audit
1.4.2 The Sub-groups held detailed discussions on the assigned areas by organising several meetings. Apart from the members, external experts and officials were co-opted in each of the Sub-groups. The list containing the names of members, co-opted members, experts and special invitees associated with various Sub-groups is at Annexe 1.3.
1.4.3 In order to assess the current status of the statistical system, the Commission had requested all the State Governments, Union Territory administrations and Central Ministries and Departments to provide the basic information on the data supplied by them and the perceived data gaps along with their suggestions. The information so collected was analysed and considered by the concerned Sub-groups as well as by the Commission.
1.4.4 To assist the Commission in examining the technical aspects of a number of issues in different sectors of the economy, some expert groups and committees were formed. Each was given specific terms of reference for studying some particular issues. The compositions of these groups and committees are given in . The following technical studies have been undertaken by these groups and committees:
Reviewing the Improvement of Crop Statistics (ICS) Programme for modifying its survey design to provide alternative all-India estimates of crop area and yield rates of major crops and correction factors to adjust the Timely Reporting Scheme estimates of crop area.
Efficacy of using small-area estimation techniques in the field of Agricultural Statistics.
Rationalising the village land records for expanding the scope of the existing nine-fold classification of land use.
Problems in capturing the growth of the Industrial Sector through the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI).
Study of Different Sources of Data on Higher and Technical Education.
Small-area estimation of socio-economic variables at the district and sub-district levels.
Examining the issues related to data requirements for Direct and Indirect Taxation, Accounting, Budgeting, etc.
Examining issues related to Insurance Sector Statistics and recommending measures for improving the system.
Identifying the Information Needs arising out of e-commerce activities and institutional arrangements for data maintenance.
Examining the status of data on services in the light of emerging issues for international trade in services.
Critical examination of the status of informal Financial Sector Statistics and suggesting a system for improving data collection.
Identifying the reasons for a divergence between the estimates of household consumer expenditure and private final consumption expenditure.
1.4.5 Besides, the following presentations were also arranged:
Use of Remote Sensing Techniques for improving crop yield and acreage statistics in Agriculture by the Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad.
Data Warehousing Initiatives taken by Reserve Bank of India.
1.4.6 In addition to the above, the Indian Statistical Service Association and the Staff Associations of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation presented their views on improving the morale of the statistical personnel before the Commission.
1.4.7 The Commission felt that a meeting with the representatives of the States, Union Territories and Central Ministries and Departments be convened to facilitate the members of the Commission to interact directly for assessing their views on various issues identified by them. The same was accomplished by taking the opportunity of the Eleventh Conference of Central and State Statistical Organizations arranged by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation during the last week of October 2000. The Conference was attended by several heads of statistical Organizations or divisions from the States which included Secretaries, Commissioners of Statistics, Directors of Economics and Statistics of the States and senior officers from the Central Ministries and Departments. The views and suggestions that emerged in the Conference have been duly considered during the discussions of the different meetings of the Sub-groups as well as the Commission.
1.4.8 In the course of discussions over several meetings, the Commission observed that Administrative Statistics flowing from various channels of the Government administration suffer seriously from the problem of reliability, timeliness, coverage, etc. The Commission, therefore, felt that there was a need to get the views of the administrators of the States. Accordingly, a meeting with the Chief Secretaries representing twenty-one States was convened in June 2001. Chief Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, Secretaries and other senior officers in the State Administration attended the meeting. The meeting provided an opportunity to the Commission to discuss the State Statistical System including the Administrative System, participation of the States in the Statistical Legislation, improving the Centre-State Coordination in statistical activities and the use of Information Technology in improving the statistical system. While expressing their views on the above issues, the representatives from the States were also of the view that overall improvement in the State Statistical System is essential for strengthening the Indian Statistical System, as the former is an integral part of the latter.
1.4.9 The Commission held a total of 15 meetings, the last being held on 2-3 August 2001 and discussed the issues brought before it by the Sub-groups, which had met 39 times. The Commission submitted an Interim Report focusing on issues relating to the Agricultural, Industrial, Corporate, Financial and External Sectors during the month of February 2001. A number of experts in the fields including retired senior officers of the Government forwarded their comments on the various recommendations of the Commission enlisted in the Interim Report. The Commission has considered these views during the discussion in its subsequent meetings.
1.4.10 The Commission was required to submit its Report to the Government within a period of 12 months. However, in view of the wide-ranging terms of reference and emergence of many contentious issues, the Commission requested an extension of six months. Accordingly, the Government, through Resolution No. M-13011/3/99/Adm.IV dated 23 January 2001 of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (see Annexe 1.5) extended the term of the Commission up to 18 July 2001, the tenure being thereafter further extended up to 18 August 2001 in order to enable the completion of the Report.