2.12.1 The Commission after analysing the deficiencies of the Indian Statistical System in terms of its administration and technical requirements has made several recommendations to revamp the statistical system. It may be legitimate to question how the recommendations in this Report would bring about improvements in the timeliness, reliability and adequacy of the Indian official statistics and contribute to its credibility in public perceptions and debates. In this context it may be stated that the loss of credibility in official statistics especially in the 1990s prompted the appointment of the National Statistical Commission with a wide-ranging terms of reference. The reasons were traced to: (a) deterioration in Administrative Statistics at the primary level; (b) weakening of the institutional mechanisms of vertical coordination between the Centre and the States; and (c) a similar weakening of the lateral coordination between the ministries at the Centre and the Central Statistical Organisation. The recommendations on individual subjects in the Report aim at stemming the deterioration in the Administrative Statistical System and to improve it over time. Similarly, a revival or strengthening of the established institutional mechanisms of vertical coordination has also been recommended along with several suggestive guidelines for improving the State Statistical Systems. This would go a long way towards restoring the vertical coordination. The Commission has recommended wide-ranging changes in the top structure of the Indian Statistical System to provide correctives for identified systemic deficiencies. In doing so the Commission has taken into consideration the proposed ‘Mission Statement’ as given below:
The Mission of the Indian Statistical System shall be to provide, within the decentralised structure of the system, reliable, timely and credible social and economic statistics, to assist decision making within and outside the Government, stimulate research and promote informed debate relating to conditions affecting people's life.
2.12.2 The proposed establishment of the National Commission on Statistics as a nodal policy-making and supervisory non-official body with statutory backing and assisted by subject specific expert groups as also its executive organ namely, the National Statistical Office with well-defined implementing powers and headed by a National Statistician are meant to strengthen coordination in the decentralised statistical system at various levels. The proposed new institutional arrangement of statistical advisers in the various Central ministries with the responsibility of supplying the Core Statistics would help not only in ensuring coordination but also in ensuring the standards and carrying out statistical audit. The systemic view of the essentially decentralised Indian Statistical System reflected in the recommendations of the Commission would help to improve the credibility along with timeliness, reliability and adequacy. The improvements suggested would lay the foundation of a strong, robust and responsive statistical system that would cater to the needs of its various stakeholders and for enabling scientific decision-making using statistics, which is the basic requirement for good governance. The Commission is aware that the implementation of the various recommendations made in its Report requires not only additional resources but also strengthening of statistical machinery at various levels of the statistical system. The Commission urges that the Government should consider the recommendations in totality for an all-round improvement in the system in view of the strategic importance of statistics and should make available the necessary budgetary resources for effective and immediate implementation of the recommendations.