14.10 Human Resources Development

  • Staffing Pattern at the Centre
    • 14.10.1 At the Centre, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoS&PI) is the nodal ministry dealing with various aspects of statistics. Most of the ministries and departments have Statistical Units or Divisions manned by staff meant to deal with statistics related to their department. Statistical staff can broadly be classified as technical-cum-supervisory and subordinate. Officers from the Indian Statistical Service (ISS) carry out technical-cum-supervisory work at various levels in the MoS&PI and some other but not all central ministries.
    • 14.10.2 On the other hand, the subordinate staff, engaged in either the primary work of data collection, manual or computerised processing of data, or in lower level supervision of such primary work, do not belong to any organised service. They work in different ministries and departments and usually all promotions are within the respective ministry or department.
  • Training aspects
    • Current Activities
      • 14.10.3 As there is a continual change in, and expansion of areas covered by statistics, and constant change and improvement in the methodology of data collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination, it is essential for the practitioners of statistics to keep abreast of developments in the discipline, through a properly organised training programme. Training is needed at all levels – at senior levels of management, where the main responsibility is to plan, introduce and manage innovations, at the middle level, where the main job is to carry out ongoing jobs efficiently, and at the operational level, where the operational personnel must be trained in the details of the specific job on hand. To meet this need, presently the MoS&PI has the following arrangements:
        • Training Arrangements of MoS&PI .
          • 14.10.4 The MoS&PI has a Training Division in the CSO, which arranges training programmes not only for the officers and staff of the Ministry but also to statistical personnel working in other Government organisations. In NSSO, the FOD has training centres for training its own field personnel mainly in field operations. The other organisations of NSSO like SDRD and DPD lack such training facilities. However they do provide in-house training informally to their officers and staff. Besides these, various organisations of the ministry, from time to time, organise seminars and talks on important and emerging topics by renowned scholars and experts in the concerned subject fields.
        • Training Courses organised by the Central Statistical Organisation .
          • 14.10.5 The Central Statistical Organisation in the MoS&PI has a Training Division, which is under the charge of an Additional Director General. A Director along with a small team of officers and supporting staff assists him in his task.
          • 14.10.6 A list of regular training courses run by the Training Division, is given below:
            • Two years Probationary training programme for the direct recruits of Indian Statistical Service (ISS) officers;
            • Induction Course for the officers promoted to the Indian Statistical Service;
            • Junior Certificate Course in Statistics for the statistical staff working in Central and State governments and Public Sector Undertakings;
            • Senior Certificate Course in Statistics for the statistical staff and officers working in Central and State governments and Public Sector Undertakings;
            • A 4-week Course on “National and International Statistical Systems” for M-Stat students of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI); and
            • A 6-week Course on “Official Statistics and Related Methodology” for the participants of the International Statistical Education Centre (ISEC), Kolkata.
          • 14.10.7 Apart from the above regular courses, the Training Division organises occasional Refresher Courses for ISS officers for duration of about one to two weeks. A list of such courses organised during the years 1996-97 onwards is given at Annexe 14.15. Subject-wise break-up of the 22 courses so organised, shows that as many as eight of them were on computers, five on sample survey techniques (of which two were on small area techniques), two on management, and the rest on topics of Decentralised Planning, Gender Statistics, Applied Econometrics, Index Numbers, National Accounts, Database for Population Programmes, and Poverty.
          • 14.10.8 The physical facilities presently available with the Training Division for training purposes are: (a) two class-rooms to accommodate about sixty trainees in all, (b) a few PCs, two LCD projectors, three overhead projectors and an amplifier (sound system), and (c) access to the departmental library. Training arrangements are of three types: One, in the class-rooms of the Training Division, where teaching is done mostly by invited experts; Two, at different Academic, Training and Research Institutes like the Indian Statistical Institute, Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute, etc. and at computer organisations like the National Infromatics Centre, Computer Maintenance Corporation, NIIT, etc. and Three, by different departmental statistical officers in their respective offices. The arrangements have a financial component: institutions are paid a course fee, and individuals involved in the training as faculty is financially compensated.
          • 14.10.9 The main responsibility of the Training Division has therefore been of coordination of training activities with the external organisations, statistical offices and individuals. There is no integrated plan of training, no annual calendar, no linkage of training with deployment of personnel. In-service job-linked training is arranged independently by different operating divisions of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), with which the Training Division is usually not associated.
        • Training Courses organised by the National Sample Survey Organisation.
          • 14.10.10 In-service courses organised by the Field Operations Division (FOD) of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) at its six Zonal Training Centres are as follows:
            • Induction courses for the newly recruited Investigators (14 days);
            • Refresher courses for the Investigators (7 days);
            • Scheme-Specific courses namely, Socio-Economic Surveys, Industrial Statistics, Agricultural Statistics and Urban Frame Survey for Assistant Superintendents, (7 to 10 days);
            • Survey Management Courses for Superintendents (10 days);
            • Special Training Programme covering various subjects connected with field work of NSSO Surveys (8 days);
            • Training in Computer Operations (7 to 14 days);
            • Field training programme for ISS probationers - orientation at FOD Headquarters in New Delhi, followed by practical training at different zonal centres and regional and sub-regional offices of the FOD (4 to 8 weeks);
            • In addition, FOD officials are sent for computer training at the National Informatics Centre, Government of India.
          • 14.10.11 Besides providing in-service training to the officers and staff, the Survey Design and Research Division (SDRD), NSSO participates in the following training activities:
            • Training of field personnel of FOD, NSSO and State Government personnel on concepts, definitions, coverage, sampling design, etc. relevant to the current round of the NSS;
            • Annual programme of Training of ISS probationers;
            • Special programme for ISS officers on computer software by private agencies;
            • Organising, from time to time, seminar or talks on important, relevant, current and emerging topics by renowned scholars and experts in the concerned subject fields;
            • Organising the training programmes on “sample surveys and related topics” for students of JCCS and ISEC.
          • 14.10.12 The Data Processing Division (DPD), NSSO organises Workshops on Data Processing at various Data Processing Centres in each NSS Round to train its officials on scrutiny of schedules, data entry, data validation, preparation of ‘directory’ and ‘multiplier’ files, etc. Further, the Division imparts in-house training on different relevant topics such as administration, statistics, computers and allied subjects to its officers and staff, besides imparting training on “data processing” to officials of State Governments.
          • 14.10.13 The Computer Centre has been conducting Electronic Data Processing (EDP) courses for various States and Central Government Departments and International agencies. Over a period of time, the Centre has trained a large number of officers in Electronic Data Processing. Besides, it has conducted six "Programmer" level courses and two "Training of Trainers" level courses in EDP for UN-sponsored candidates from the ESCAP region countries under the United Nations Household Survey Capability Programme between 1983 and 1991. Currently, the Centre is conducting courses on Information Technology (IT) for officers under Junior Certificate Courses in Statistics (JCCS), software packages for middle level ISS officers in addition to in-house training courses on new topics of IT for its own officers and staff.
        • Training arrangements at State Statistical Organisations.
          • 14.10.14 State Statistical Organisations have, by and large, very limited and inadequate facilities for organising training programme for their statistical officers and staff. They send their officials usually to take part in Junior and Senior Certificate Courses in Statistics arranged by the CSO.
  • Deficiencies.
    • 14.10.15 The main deficiencies in the present training programmes of MoS&PI are as follows:
      • There is a marked lack of infra-structural facilities – class rooms, computers, hostel for trainees, and a regular, committed, well equipped and full time faculty and team of trainers.
      • The main task of the Training Division up till now has been one of coordination of training, rather than imparting actual training. Consequently, there is a scarcity of expertise in teaching hard technical courses.
      • There is no systematic arrangement for induction training on transfer to a new position that requires new knowledge.
      • There is no long-term plan of development of the statistical system and consequently no long-term assessment of training needs, particularly in the highly applicable technical areas. Apart from the regular courses run by the Training Division and the in-service courses run by Field Operations Division of NSSO, which have been more or less standardised, there is no organised plan for Refresher Courses for ISS officers.
      • There is no Advance Training Calendar to help the trainees choose a training programme of their interest.
      • At present, there is often no linkage between the kind of training received by an officer and his or her assignment. The fact that Statistics, like Medicine, is a vast area where specialisation is absolutely necessary does not seem to be appreciated in the statistics officialdom. That it is a great wastage of manpower resources, if for example, an officer who has long experience of survey data processing is sent for training on time-series analysis and then transferred, on successful completion of training, to work on compilation of national accounts, is not realised.
      • Methods used in official statistics are of two different kinds: (1) Methods that are subject matter specific, and (2) General analytic methods not restricted to any specific subject matter. Concepts, definitions, summary measures, tabulation plans, etc. are very much subject matter specific, whereas statistical methods used in sampling design, estimation of survey parameters, imputation of missing values, use of auxiliary information, analysis of time series and forecasting, classificatory techniques, statistical modelling, etc. are, by and large, not so. Training on advances in general analytical methods of statistics seems to have received less attention.
      • Training in basic principles of economics as well as in the development of the skill in communications is a must for every statistical officer. But there is no training in these areas.
  • Recommendations.
    • 14.10.16 The Commission makes the following recommendations for immediate implementation:
      • A suitable Central Training Facility for Indian Statistical Service officers and senior statistical officers of State Governments, equipped with accommodation, arrangement for food, lecture rooms, computer laboratory, and library should be constructed for trainees and visiting teachers.
      • There is an immediate need for extensive arrangements for training of trainers so that when availability of qualified trainers is assured, eventually the Central Training Facility could be transformed into a Training Academy.
      • Arrangements for training of subordinate operational staff should be decentralised and separate. The existing in-house training facilities of NSSO should be further strengthened.
      • It should be made mandatory for each ISS officer to undergo Refresher Training for a period of at least four weeks every two years. The training could be either in-house at the MoS&PI, or at any other Institute in India or abroad. Training in respect of new practices in official statistics could be arranged in-house or through participation in training programmes arranged by professional agencies like the International Association of Survey Statisticians, the U.S. Bureau of Census, Statistics Canada, etc. For broadening knowledge of ‘applicable’ statistical theory, training arrangements could be made with universities in India or abroad or with reputed research and training organisations like the Indian Statistical Institute, Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute, etc. Study leave with financial support should be provided to promising ISS officers working for doctorate degrees in relevant subjects.
      • Refresher Training Courses should be arranged in the following illustrative list of areas:
        • Principles of Economics
        • Communication skills
        • System of National Accounts
        • Time Series Analysis, Forecasting and Modelling
        • Small Area Estimation
        • Geographic Information System
        • Management
        • Information Technology
        • Classificatory Analysis
        • Market Research.
      • ISS officers should be eligible for Sabbatical leave for pursuing advanced studies related to their area of specialisation.
      • Training and deployment should be linked. The Cadre Management system should be suitably streamlined for this purpose.
      • The Annual Training Calendar should be announced in advance.
      • The content of the Junior and Senior Certificate Courses in Statistics should be reorganised into smaller modules and offered on a large scale to the supporting statistical personnel (both from the Central and State Governments) who need training at this level. The training also should be decentralised and organised by State Directorates of Economic and Statistics. The MoS&PI should organise Training of Trainers Sessions for this program.
      • In order to achieve closer collaboration between academicians and professionals, a suitable system should be developed to enable teachers and researchers from academic institutions to work in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India and vice-versa.
    • 14.10.17 The Commission further recommends that a high-level committee should be set up by the Government of India to evolve a long-term plan for assessing and effectively meeting the training needs for the Central and State Statistical Systems, consistent with what would be expected from the system. The said committee should also be required to examine in this connection whether a Staff Training Institute is necessary and feasible, or, whether the need could be met through cooperation with existing organisations. Such a Committee could comprise as its members, amongst others, the Director of the Indian Statistical Institute as also the envisaged National Statistician besides eminent statisticians with proven academic and professional credentials.
  • Career Management
    • 14.10.18 The effectiveness of career planning in an organisation or in a system largely depends upon the extent to which training and development opportunities are made available to the employees to enable them to realise their growth potential and to contribute towards the achievement of the organisational goals and objectives.
    • 14.10.19 The basic information needed for cadre management relates to: (a) goals of the organisation and job requirement to meet the goals, on the one hand, and (b) personnel available and their capacity to carry out the jobs, on the other.
    • 14.10.20 Like medicine, the discipline of statistics is an agglomeration of various areas of specialisation, though there is also need for the general practitioners. The Commission recognises the following broad areas of specialisation in the statistical system:
      • Applied Statistics – sampling design, time–series analysis and forecasting, statistical modelling and inference, classificatory techniques, etc.;
      • Computer linked areas – Systems analysis and software development, survey data processing, data bank and data warehouse management, desk top publishing, computer management, etc.;
      • National Accounts;
      • Agricultural Statistics;
      • Industrial and Commercial Statistics;
      • Population and Socio-economic Statistics;
      • Field Operations.
    • 14.10.21 The career of each ISS officer should be planned so that he or she can specialise in a number of the above areas, gradually narrowing down the areas of specialization over the years. Concerted efforts of the ISS Cadre Controlling Authority and the Training Division of CSO would be necessary to achieve this.
    • Recommendation
      • 14.10.22 The Commission makes the following recommendations:
        • During the first 15 years or so of the career, every ISS officer should work in about four of the following areas: Applied Statistics (sampling design, time–series analysis and forecasting, statistical modelling and inference, classificatory techniques, etc.), Computer-linked areas (Systems analysis and software development, survey data processing, data bank and data warehouse management, desk top publication, computer management etc.), National Accounts, Agricultural Statistics, Industrial and Commercial Statistics, Population and Socio-economic Statistics, and Field Operations.
        • Gradually during the next 5 years or so, he or she should be required to narrow down the area of specialisation to only one or two of these areas. The role of the cadre management should be to help harmonise the choice of specialisation by the officer with the goals of the organisation. All transfers and training of an officer should be consistent with the goals of specialisation.
        • A computerised database of details of qualifications, job experience and training undergone by every officer must be maintained up-to-date.
  • Improving Morale of Staff and Officers
    • 14.10.23 The Commission took cognisance of the representations from the ISS officers’ Association and a number of subordinate staff associations regarding severe lack of prospects of career advancement in their respective categories. The Commission is convinced that their grievances are genuine and urges the Government to take necessary steps to redress their grievances.
    • Subordinate Staff
      • 14.10.24 For subordinate staff, the Commission was informed by their representatives that the percentage of officials working at the same post or scale for 13 years or more is about 39 per cent in case of Senior Investigators of the Central Statistical Organisation, 80 per cent for Data Processing Assistants of the Computer Centre, 46 per cent for Data Processing Assistants of the Data Processing Division of the National Sample Survey Organisation, 34 per cent for Investigators and more than 60 per cent for Assistant Superintendents of the of the Field Operations Division of the same organisation. To improve the morale of the staff, the Fifth Central Pay Commission recommended upgradation of certain posts and the constitution of a Subordinate Statistical Service, bringing under one umbrella two separate categories of staff: field workers and statistical investigators. There was no suggestion to bring the third category namely, data processing staff under the same umbrella. The subordinate service will have two levels of workers to be called Statistical Investigator Grade I and Grade II, respectively. It will offer the subordinate cadre an entry path through promotion to the ISS in the ratio of 40:60 for promotions against direct recruitment. A common seniority list will be maintained for this purpose. However, no such entry path to the ISS is provided for the data processing staff.
      • 14.10.25 The MoS&PI informed the Commission about the progress in the implementation of the Subordinate Statistical Service. Draft recruitment rules governing the Subordinate Statistical Service have been prepared and circulated amongst concerned Ministries and Departments for comments. Information about posts, pay scales, number of incumbents and recruitment procedures in participating Ministries has been collected. Pending constitution of the Subordinate Statistical Service, upgraded replacement scales of pay have been granted with effect from 1 January 1996 to Group B and C statistical functionaries as recommended by the Fifth Central Pay Commission. Abolition of Assistant Superintendent post in the FOD (NSSO) is also under consideration of the Government so that an overall two-tier structure can be adopted in the Service.
      • 14.10.26 The Commission is convinced that there is no need to maintain the present distinctions amongst the subordinate staff: field workers, statistical investigators and data processing staff. Computers are user-friendly now and do not require much of specialisation at lower levels of use. A whole life spent in data collection from the field is monotonous and breeds too much familiarity and a know-all attitude. However, the main purported reason for creating the subordinate service is not unification of functions, but to provide better opportunity of career advancement for lower level statistical personnel working in small or outlying offices. To what extent this can be achieved should be examined.
      • 14.10.27 It appears that to make the Subordinate Statistical Service viable, quite a few ex-cadre positions would have to be created. The Commission would like to point out that the main difficulty in ISS cadre management had arisen out of recruitment or placement of a large number of persons in an ad hoc manner in the ISS and subsequent failure to regularise the placements. The affected persons went to the Supreme Court for redressal. According to the dispensation by the court, they had to be absorbed in the cadre with retrospective effect. The base of the service was thereby extensively widened. The number of positions at higher levels has however remained the same reducing the prospects of promotion in the ISS. It does not appear to be a logical proposition to create a number of posts outside a proposed new cadre to make the new cadre viable. Also, since it appears that for the relatively small number of positions in the ISS likely to be available annually, there would be a very large number of aspirants in the subordinate service, the extent of improvements of promotion may have to be examined carefully.
      • Recommendation
        • 14.10.28 The Commission recommends that:
          • As the constitution of the Subordinate Statistical Service has been recommended by the Fifth Central Pay Commission and the related issues are under active consideration of the Government, all relevant aspects as mentioned in the body of the report should be considered by the Government while constituting the service.
    • Indian Statistical Service
      • 14.10.29 The Indian Statistical Service (ISS) was constituted as a Group A Central Service on 1 November 1961 by pooling together statistical posts offered voluntarily by different ministries and departments of Government of India and en-cadering them. The service was created with the laudable objective of unification of all statistical work, and providing its officers good opportunities of career advancement. But it was born with a congenital defect – a bottom-heavy structure, with very few positions at the top to match career aspirations – as only low-level positions were initially offered for en-cadrement. Recruitment to the ISS and its sister Indian Economic Service (IES) is made on all-India basis through the ISS/IES Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission every year.
      • 14.10.30 For ISS officers, the Commission noted with concern that management of the ISS cadre by the Cadre Controlling Authority – MoS&PI – has not been satisfactory. There has been only a solitary cadre review since its creation. Meetings of Departmental Promotion Committees (DPC) have not been held in time to fill up existing vacancies.
      • 14.10.31 Due to the absence of cadre reviews, many important statistical positions, which should normally come under the ISS, have not been brought into the service. Therefore, it has not been possible to change the original bottom-heavy structure of the service. As a result, deserving ISS officers have been denied opportunity of promotions for long periods so much so that some ISS officers have fallen behind their compatriots from sister services by as many as two promotions.
      • 14.10.32 Because meetings of DPC have not been held in time, for the purpose of promotions, annual confidential reports of several batches have been considered together at one time resulting in supersession of officers of a senior batch by their juniors. Had the meetings of the DPC been held regularly, or promotions for different batches been considered separately, there would not have been so many supersessions as they exist in the ISS today. supersessions have badly affected the morale of the ISS officers.
      • 14.10.33 The Fifth Central Pay Commission (CPC) had recommended regular cadre reviews for all Group A central services to identify and upgrade positions so that ultimately the following model composition of the Service is attained. The following table shows the model composition vis-à-vis the actual condition of the ISS. The preponderance of positions at the lower levels is starkly evident from the table.
      • ISS Cadre Structure vis-à-vis the Model Structure Recommended by 5th CPC
        Scale or Grade As recommended by Fifth Central Pay Commission Percentage of ISS posts in various grades
        Mandatory eligibility for grant of the grade Percentage of officers

        Senior Time Scale (STS)

        5th year 30 57.1
        Junior Administrative Grade (JAG) 9th year 30 6.6
        Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG) 14th year 20 30.8
        Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) 17th year 17 4.7
        Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) 25th year 3 0.8
      • 14.10.34 In the opinion of the Fifth Central Pay Commission, ideally all Group A officers should reach Senior Time Scale (STS) in the fifth year, Junior Administrative Grade (JAG) in the ninth year and Non Functional Selection Grade (NFSG) in the fourteen year of their service. However, a study conducted by ISS Association, Kolkata, gives the following gloomy picture of promotion prospects for ISS officers:
        Promotion to level Year of Joining
        77 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 90 92 93
        STS 5 13 12 12 11 13 12 11 12 11 8 8 8
        JAG 16 16 16 17 16 24 28 29 30 30 - 25 25
        NFSG 21 23 27 32 33 33 33 34 33 33 - 29 29
      • 14.10.35 Much of the problems could have been solved, had appropriate steps been taken in the past through periodic cadre reviews as per the guidelines of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
      • 14.10.36 The ISS has suffered a lot because of poor cadre management and is in a pitiable condition. The Commission has learnt that the Fifth Central Pay Commission had recommended a scheme for Assured Career Progression for Government employees in order to mitigate the effects of stagnation. The Government had not accepted the recommendation for the Group A officers in the hope that regular cadre reviews would take care of the problem. However, in the case of the ISS this has not been done.
      • Recommendation
        • 14.10.37 The Commission therefore recommends that:
          • As a one-time ameliorative measure, ISS officers should be given the benefit by awarding them the Senior Time Scale, Junior Administrative Grade and Non Functional Selection Grade in the 5th, 9th and 14th year of their service. The Commission is aware that quite a few officers would miss this benefit because the length of their service is only marginally shorter than the specified limits set above. The Commission hopes that the next two recommendations, if implemented promptly and properly, would resolve the problem.
          • MoS&PI should immediately carry out a Cadre Review of the ISS and thereafter every five years to assess the statistical needs of different ministries and departments as per the guidelines of the DoPT.
          • In addition, all ad hoc promotions should be regularised, and vacancies should be filled up immediately. A panel for promotions to fill up vacancies during the following year should be drawn up in advance in the current year itself.
          • The ISS cadre should be restructured to narrow down the base so as to achieve the model cadre structure as recommended by the Fifth Central Pay Commission.
          • The stature of the officer responsible for management of the Cadres of Indian Statistical Service as well as Subordinate Statistical Service should be sufficiently high for better management of the cadres.
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