8.3 Strengthening Infrastructure Statistics

  • 8.3.1 To ensure that reliable data should be collected for the Infrastructure Sector as recommended it is necessary that the various components of infrastructure should be adequately covered in the data-collection activity. The information requirements of the various components of infrastructure are now considered as these will also be an important input in the creation of infrastructure indices. The following sectors merit consideration:
    • Railways
    • Roads
    • Airways
    • Waterways
    • Telecommunications
    • Electricity
    • Housing Services
    • Posts
    • Urban Infrastructure
    • Rural Infrastructure
    • Energy excluding Electricity.
  • Railways
    • Current Status
      • 8.3.2 In the Transport Sector, the railways possibly have the most comprehensive database currently available. A substantial amount of information is available on the following:
        • Length of rail network: route and track kilometres (kms), wagon or vehicle or train kms, etc.;
        • Passenger transport: passenger kms, number of passengers, average lead, etc.;
        • Freight transport: tonne kms, tonnage, average lead, etc.;
        • Utilisation of rolling stock: number and types of rolling stock in service, cost of repairs, etc.;
        • Energy consumption;
        • Economic and financial statistics (earnings, expenditure, etc.); and
        • Administrative statistics (number of staff by groups, departments, pay scales, services, cost of staff, etc.).
      • 8.3.3 The data to a large extent is published in the Annual Statistical Statement, and Annual Report and Accounts.
    • Data Gaps
      • 8.3.4 The following data gaps may be mentioned [Note: The list given below is indicative; In some cases the data gap relates to ease of availability of data]:
        • Value of infrastructure assets, that is, rail network;
        • Non-availability of data separately for each traction and for each zone of the railways;
        • Data on the movements of various goods by traction and by zone, inter and intra-State movement of traffic by rail (Data on inter-State movement of goods by different modes including rail are published by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics);
        • Revenue earnings by type of freight carried, by traction and by zone;
        • Efficiency indicators such as average lead, turnaround time of rolling stock, number of employees per freight-tonne km. and passenger km., on-time arrivals, extent of delays, etc. by traction and by zone; and
        • Financial efficiency indicators.
    • Conclusions and Recommendations
      • 8.3.5 The database of the Indian Railways is comprehensive and well- organised. However, it is apparent from the responses of Ministry of Railways that all data are not easily accessible. For instance, data at the level of the States are not maintained and are available only at the zonal level. Even though the Ministry of Railways indicated that information on "value of infrastructure" is available, it is not well known where such data are to be located. Also much of the desired information is available only from "basic data" which may not be easily accessible. The Commission, therefore, recommends that:
        • The Railway Board should make the Annual Statistical Statement, which at present gives zone-wise data in the form of an unpublished and internal document, widely available.
  • Roads
    • Current Status
      • 8.3.6 The Roads Sector exhibits a mix of public sector and private sector users. Even as far as actual roads are concerned there has been some entry of private operators in the field. As far as the public sector is concerned there is a reasonable amount of quality data available. This is especially true of public sector passenger transport.
      • 8.3.7 The major sources of data on Road Statistics are: PWD (Roads) of State Governments and Union Territory Administrations, PWD (National Highways) of State Governments and Union Territory Administrations, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Departments of State Governments, Department of Local Bodies, State Government and Union Territory Administrations, Transport Division of the Planning Commission, Budget section of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
      • 8.3.8 In the field of Road Transport Statistics, the major sources of such data are: Transport Commissioners of States and Union Territories, State Road Transport Undertakings, All-India Automobile Manufacturers Association, Road Safety Cell of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Transport Division of Planning Commission, periodic Follow-up Enterprise Surveys on the subject by the MoS&PI and World Road Statistics of International Road Federation.
      • 8.3.9 The following data are available:
        • Road length, separately for urban and rural roads, for municipal roads, railways roads, major port roads, etc. by type of surface;
        • National Highways (State-wise) - Road length: total and surfaced, width, major and minor bridges, culverts on National Highways (NH), growth of NH since 1951 and expenditure on NH by Central Government (total: all-India), Central Government expenditure on NH for development and maintenance (State-wise);
        • State Highways (State-wise) - Road length: total and surfaced, type of surface, width of road length, number of culverts and bridges on State Highways;
        • Number of registered motor vehicles, by categories – State-wise and in metropolitan cities of India; Newly-registered motor vehicles – State-wise;
        • State-wise revenue realised from motor vehicle taxes and fees, estimated tax revenue on motor spirit and high-speed diesel;
        • Plan-wise outlay and expenditure on road transport in Centre and States;
        • Passenger transport by State Road Transport Undertakings;
        • Fuel consumption in road transport; and
        • Number of enterprises in the transport sector activity, workers engaged, value of per enterprise receipts and expenditure, gross value added per enterprise or per worker, etc. for enterprises other than those in the public sector, as estimated through the Follow-up Enterprise Surveys.
    • Data Gaps
      • 8.3.10 The Basic Road Statistics of India brought out annually by the Transport Research Wing of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways covers the maximum road length in the country. One of the limitations is that of inadequacy present in the data on Rural Roads. There are also major data gaps on passenger and freight carried through roadways. The problem arises because the road freight traffic movement is primarily in the hands of private operators for which the database is too weak. There is not even a proper mechanism to maintain a minimum essential database at least in respect of such operators that have a significant contribution in terms of turnover, employment, etc.
      • 8.3.11 Due to the involvement of multiple agencies in the construction of Rural Roads, it is difficult to obtain up-to-date data on Rural Roads or on their connectivity. Further, various categories of roads like PWD Roads, Urban Roads, Project Roads, Panchayati Raj Roads, etc. are being constructed by different agencies in the States. It is therefore very difficult to obtain data from all these agencies. As a result, the Transport Research Wing of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has been unable to update the publication on “Basic Statistics on Roads” for the last 2-3 years.
      • 8.3.12 The Follow-up Enterprise Surveys of the MoS&PI, through periodic and national-level surveys, aim to fill up some of the gaps by including all road transport units other than those in the public sector under the survey coverage. But normally such surveys focus to collect only limited information like details of employment, receipts, expenditure, fixed assets and outstanding loans, apart from certain classificatory information relating to the units. Many important data like the number of passengers, volume of traffic carried, age profile of vehicles, average age of vehicle, occupancy ratio, manpower employed per vehicle, etc. are normally not collected in these surveys. Further, the survey estimates of number of workers are sometimes found to diverge significantly from the corresponding estimates as per the alternative sources.
      • 8.3.13 An indicative list of crucial data that are still lacking for the Sector is as follows:
        • Inadequacy of data on Rural Roads;
        • Quality of roads at various levels such as National Highways, State Highways, Rural Roads;
        • Paucity of information on passenger transportation in the private sector. (A similar situation prevails for freight transport by the private sector, which accounts for almost 98 per cent of all freight carried on roads. It is true that origin-destination surveys are conducted by RITES every five years and these offer some information on freight transport by roads. However, since such surveys can only be conducted at infrequent intervals data are not available consistently on a regular basis.);
        • Financial data on State Road Transport Undertakings at the level of divisions, fuel efficiency on roads;
        • Physical and financial productivity indicators for the freight and passenger transport such as age profile of vehicles including average age of vehicle, occupancy ratio, manpower employed per bus, fuel efficiency or average kilometre run per litre of diesel, revenue, cost incurred, net profit and loss (total as well as per kilometre) per vehicle, expenditure incurred on fuel, lubricants, etc.;
        • Ownership pattern of transport operators, their level of operations, motor vehicles on road; and
        • Speed of traffic movement, especially in cities; accident rates, casualty figures, etc.
    • Conclusions and Recommendations
      • 8.3.14 There remain major gaps in the availability of data on road and road transport especially passenger and freight transport in the private sector. There is an urgent need to bridge these gaps. The inadequacy of data on Rural Roads is due to the multiplicity of agencies involved in the rural road construction programme. Collection of data on Rural Roads from the multiple agencies is not an easy task. Thus, there is a need to streamline the collection of data. In this context, it may be stated that the PWDs of the States and Union Territories should be responsible for collection of data on Rural as well as Other Roads. There should be proper statistical cells within the PWDs, which should coordinate with various agencies and collect, compile and disseminate the required statistics. All data so collected should be made available to the Transport Research Wing of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways that may then take steps to publish these. Further, the overall responsibility for collection, compilation, and dissemination of data on the construction of Rural as well as Other Roads should rest with the State PWD Secretaries.
      • 8.3.15 In the Road Transport Sector, there is an empirical need for evolving a proper data collection system to strengthen the database. A mechanism to improve the database, by way of compulsory furnishing of essential statistics at the check posts and their processing on an appropriate sampling basis, should be evolved. Collection of data relating to the bigger units in the Road Transport Sector, other than those belonging to the public sector, through the Survey of Non-Manufacturing Industries (SNMI) recommended by the Commission would also be a significant step in the improvement of the database. While designing the schedules for the SNMI, steps should be taken to include the items for which there exist data gaps at present.
      • 8.3.16 Once the scheme of the SNMI is launched, the Follow-up Enterprise Surveys of the MoS&PI should be re-designed to collect data from the residual category of Road Transport Sector units (i.e. other than public sector units and units covered through the SNMI). While doing so, efforts should be made to fill up the existing data gaps by including the items for which data gaps have been identified.
      • 8.3.17 To further improve the database, regular maintenance by enforcement and submission of truck operations logbook by the truck operators to their respective Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) could be a feasible solution. In other words, imposing the condition of compulsory furnishing of certain statistics by the transport operators at the time of renewal of licensing should be seriously tried. For this purpose, maintenance of a logbook with data on important items such as receipts and expenditure, passengers and goods carried, average time spent per day and per month, etc. by the transport operators is necessary. Statistical cells in the RTOs with proper infrastructural facilities should be set up to compile such data furnished by the transport operators at the time of renewal of licensing and disseminate the same according to a prescribed format, to be finalised by keeping in view the data requirements for national accounting.
      • 8.3.18 The Commission recommends that:
        • Statistical cells within the PWDs should be set up, which should coordinate with various agencies in the matter of collection, compilation and dissemination of Road Statistics. Such data collected by the PWDs should be made available to the Transport Research Wing of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways that should then take steps to publish these.
        • Detailed data with respect to the bigger and/or significant Road Transport Sector units should be collected through the proposed Survey of Non-Manufacturing Industries (SNMI).
        • Improved method of data collection should be tried by the MoS&PI to generate the Road Transport Statistics through both the SNMI and the Follow-up Enterprise Surveys that should exclude enterprises covered under the SNMI.
        • A mechanism should be evolved to improve the Road Transport Statistics by way of compulsory furnishing of essential information at the check posts and their processing on an appropriate sampling basis.
        • Compulsory furnishing of certain minimum statistics by the transport operators at the time of renewal of licensing should be enforced. Statistical cells in the RTOs, with proper infrastructural facilities, should be set up to compile the data furnished by the transport operators at the time of renewal of licensing and disseminate the same in a prescribed format.
  • Airways
    • Current Status
      • 8.3.19 Air transport has come a long way from being a state monopoly to a field operated by numerous players. As far as Indian Airlines and Air India are concerned, a substantial amount of data is available. Coverage of data includes aircraft hours flown, available seat kilometres, revenue, passenger kilometres performed, number of passengers carried, freight carried, mail carried as well as volume of cargo embarked and disembarked. However, there is paucity of data as far as other airlines are concerned.
    • Data Requirements
      • 8.3.20 The following are the data requirements of this sector of transport:
        • Quantity of infrastructure facilities, such as length of runaways and air traffic controlling systems. Such information needs to be available on a zonal or State-level basis;
        • Level of passenger transport by airlines; origin-destination of passenger traffic, which will reveal the density of passenger traffic on various routes;
        • Fuel and other efficiency indicators by airlines;
        • Financial indicators;
        • Share of international and domestic passenger traffic by zone, by State and by airlines;
        • Operating details of aircrafts including utilisation, age, number of employees per aircraft, etc.;
        • Age composition of fleet by airlines;
        • Passenger-handling capacity and actual performance at each airport; and
        • Details of freight transported by air.
    • Recommendations
      • 8.3.21 The Commission recommends that:
        • The data-collection system for the private sector should be strengthened and identified data gaps be addressed.
        • The Director General, Civil Aviation should publish the data on airways for both the nationalised and private airlines.
  • Waterways
    • Current Status
      • 8.3.22 Water transport can be divided into two categories: international water transport and domestic water transport, including inland water transport. As far as the infrastructure is concerned, that is ports and port facilities, these are owned by the Government with increasing participation of private sector as a part of the ongoing process of liberalisation. However, transport operations exhibit a mix of private and public operators. There is a reasonably good database of port statistics and shipping statistics. In the case of Inland Water Transport (IWT) Statistics, the database is not sound. The data availability along with the sources for provision of such data are mentioned in Annexe 8.1. The following data are important for this Sector:
        • Port facilities such as capacity, number of berths, cargo-moving equipment, etc. available at each port;
        • Efficiency indicators for use of berths and equipment in terms of cargo and ships handled;
        • Turn around time of ships at each port;
        • Quantum of cargo handled at the level of disaggregation by commodity, by ownership, etc.; inter-port cargo movement; extent of containerisation; etc.;
        • Movement of container cargo by vessel type, by trans-shipment port, by origin and final destination;
        • Efficiency indicators for port labour;
        • Division between international and coastal shipping;
        • Performance of shipping companies operating international and coastal routes;
        • Passenger and freight movement on inland water transport, number of vessels operated by type, income and expenditure from IWT operations;
        • Unit cost of movement of goods and passenger traffic by various modes of transport;
        • Safety statistics; and
        • Environmental pollution caused by the industry.
    • Data gaps
      • 8.3.23 The follow data gaps exist in this Sector:
        • Port Statistics: Cost of handling containers from the user point of view and for port use; Single productivity indicator to assess the overall performance of each port; Coastal movement of cargo from port to port (origin and destination); Movement of container cargo by vessel type, by trans-shipment port, by origin and final destination; Safety statistics.
        • Indian Shipping Statistics: Financial performance indicators of the private shipping companies; Operational indicators (voyages, cargo, capacity or space utilisation); Freight rates for selected Indian import and export commodities for all the shipping companies; Safety statistics; Environmental pollution caused by the industry; Incomplete coverage of the private sector ship building and repair activities.
        • Inland Water: Transport Non-availability of timely data and lack of complete coverage on the IWT operations by the State Governments; Lack of coverage of private sector operations; Safety statistics.
    • Recommendations
      • 8.3.24 For improvement of the database, the Commission recommends the following:
        • The prevalent statistical system for the sector should be modernised through application of advanced Information Technology.
        • A mechanism should be evolved by the Ministry of Shipping to collect data from individual shipping companies, which own one or two vessels in most of the cases.
        • Full-fledged statistical cells should be created in the Inland Water Transport (IWT) Directorates of the State Governments to strengthen the database for IWT Statistics.
        • Such statistical cells should be charged with the responsibilities of collection, processing, compilation and dissemination of IWT data not only for the IWT vessels operated by the IWT Directorate but also for the vessels as well as country crafts owned and operated by private companies and individuals.
        • The Ministry of Shipping should be made responsible for publishing data related to this IWT Sector
  • Telecommunications
    • Current Status
      • 8.3.25 Telecommunications has emerged as a very rapidly-growing segment of infrastructure. Most modern communication systems are telecom-based and the strength of this Sector is vital for the growth of the economy. This segment has also witnessed the presence of numerous private players along with the public sector and this will pose problems of data compilation. Since much of telecom is interfaced with computers, data on computer and computer-related activities would also be relevant here.
      • 8.3.26 Even though the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) has been restructured and the functions of the Department of Telecom Services (DTS) and the Department of Telecom Operations (DTO) have been transferred with effect from 1 October, 2000 to a newly-created corporate entity called Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, there is still a decentralised system of collection of data for both the Department of Telecommunications and Department of Telecom Services. Different divisions or cells in these departments and the statistical cell under the Economic Research Unit (ERU) in the DOT are the main sources of data pertaining to the Sector. Collection of data for the compilation and publication of statistics in the statistical cell is undertaken through the sets of returns received monthly and annually from the various telecom circles, telecom districts and other units of the departments. The database of these departments includes equipped capacity, working connections, rural telephony, revenue statistics, telephone traffic, telegraph traffic, staff statistics, etc.
    • Data gaps
      • 8.3.27 This sub-sector is faced with the non-availability of reliable data regarding household subscribers of telephone, their economic status or activity, expenditure on telecom services by them, PC or Internet users, cellular mobile phone subscribers and other users of value-added services. Also there is lack of a well-established system for collection of data relating to the private sector entering into telecom sector such as: their activities, performance – both physical and financial; areas, villages, and subscribers covered by them; investment made; tariff structure; manpower employed; etc.
      • 8.3.28 Given the rapid changes that are taking place in telecom, it is to be expected that the data requirements will continue to evolve over time. The following data requirement list is proposed with the usual caveat that it is merely indicative:
        • Length of telephone lines, number of telephone connections, e-mail connections;
        • Density of telephone and e-mail;
        • Indicators of physical and financial efficiency of all telecom providers across zones and States;
        • Penetration of computers including number of personal computers, number of cyber cafes, number of users of computers at cyber cafes;
        • Information on Internet Service Providers, such as number of subscribers, subscription rates;
        • Information on Mobile Telephone Service providers, such as total number of subscribers, rates for calls; and
        • Details of local and long distance (including international) calls, and revenue generation from each category.
    • Recommendations
      • 8.3.29 The Commission recommends that:
        • With the opening up of telecom services to the private service providers, they should be mandated to furnish the required information to the Department of Telecommunications on a regular basis.
        • The overall responsibility of publishing telecom data for both the public and private sectors should rest with the Department of Telecommunications.
  • Electricity
    • Current Status
      • 8.3.30 The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) is the main source of information on Electricity Statistics. There is no statistical cell in the CEA that is responsible for dissemination of the requisite statistics. The main publication of the CEA is the Public Electricity Supply: All India Statistics. This publication gives information on the following:
        • Organisational structure of the Electricity Sector
        • Generating capacity at the all-India level, State-wise, department-wise, etc.
        • Actual generation of electricity
        • Generating capacity, generation, installed capacity, etc. of captive plants
        • Electric power supply and system losses
        • Transmission and distribution of electricity
        • Utilisation of electricity
        • Consumers of electricity and connected load
        • Urban and rural electrification.
      • 8.3.31 The other important publication of the CEA is the Electric Power Survey of India. The latest available is the Fifteenth Survey for the period 1998-99 till 2001-02, which was published in 1995. This publication gives information on:
        • Forecast of electricity requirement up to 2001-02: All-India (Public Utilities and Non-utility power stations);
        • Forecast of electricity requirement of Public Utilities up to 2001-02;
        • Forecast of electricity requirement of licensees and other utilities up to 2001-02; and
        • Long-term forecast up to 2011-12.
    • Data Gaps
      • 8.3.32 The following problems exist in this Sector:
        • Major data gaps on captive power generation;
        • Delay in publication of data. The latest year for which data are available is 1996-97;
        • Hesitation of regional headquarters to send preliminary or tentative data. Data are not sent to the CEA till they have been verified and vetted by the regional headquarters;
        • Lack of a proper mechanism to get information on the closed units immediately after they cease to operate;
        • Non-response from factories. Factories fear that the data supplied by them may be used for tax purposes. In such case, either factories do not supply data at all or, if forced to do so, supply incorrect data;
        • Data collection problems due to growing privatisation of the Sector;
        • Problems in data collection from decentralised locations due to division of State Electricity Boards; and
        • Delay at the level of sending data to the CEA.
    • Conclusions and Recommendations
      • 8.3.33 Electricity is a crucial component of the infrastructure segment and it is important that data availability here be reliable and timely. The need for timely release of statistics has further become important in view of the fact that the Electricity Sector is now not being covered under the Annual Survey of Industries. The delays mentioned in the publication of Public Electricity Supply: All India Statistics are not justified. Efforts must also be made to increase the periodicity of this publication. As more and more data become available on a quarterly and monthly basis, the data of this Sector should keep pace. Further, as individual electricity producers come into the picture, data on their operations should also be available.
      • 8.3.34 The financial position of the State Electricity Boards (SEBs) is crucial for electricity planning at the State level and also from the point of view of public finances of States. Detailed availability of the finances of SEBs should be available from one source rather than from diverse State-level sources. The Commission recommends that:
        • The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) should remove the delays in release of Electricity Statistics.
        • The electricity authorities at the State and Union Territory level should publish the data for the electricity-generating units, including those in the private sector, under their respective jurisdictions.
        • State Governments under whose jurisdiction State Electricity Boards (SEBs) operate should be asked to collect data pertaining to the finances of the SEBs.
        • In order to improve the data coverage and timely dissemination of Electricity Statistics, the CEA should strengthen its existing cell with statistical expertise.
  • Housing Services
    • Current Status
      • 8.3.35 An important component of Urban Infrastructure is housing. This is not to deny the importance of housing in rural areas, but generally urban areas in developing countries face severe housing shortages.
      • 8.3.36 There are a number of agencies, which are directly or indirectly concerned with the collection of data on various aspects of housing in India. The principal agencies collecting data on housing and construction statistics are the National Buildings Organisation, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India and NSSO.
      • 8.3.37 The National Buildings Organisation (NBO) collects data on house building activities, both in the private and public sectors, in urban areas of the country and the prices of various building materials and wages of building labour from specified locations all over the country. In addition to these, the NBO collects data on building cost index, social housing, building permits and completion certificates issued, housing finance institutions, etc. The NBO also compiles data relating to shelter indicators, urban infrastructure, environment statistics, disaster management, etc. from various Central, State, local agencies and disseminates them to the planners and data users. The estimates of housing shortage, both at national and State levels are projected by the NBO. Further, the NBO is also engaged in data collection as required by the national and international agencies such as World Bank, United Nations Centre For Human Settlements (UNCHS), etc. Further, surveys and studies on the socio-economic aspects of housing are organised and conducted by the NBO.
      • 8.3.38 The NSSO also conducts household surveys on socio-economic statistics covering housing conditions. The NSS 49th Round conducted during January to June 1993 is a comprehensive survey and it has covered several aspects of housing conditions.
      • 8.3.39 Housing data are obtained from various sources. These are tabulated as follows:
        Data Type Source

        Lowest Level of Aggregation

        No. of Census Houses Census

        Village and Urban Block


        Residential Fractions Census District Decadal
        Structure of Housing Stock by Material of Construction Census, NSS

        District (Census),        State (NSS)


        Five yearly

        Structure of Housing Stock NBO


        Building Material Prices NBO

        Selected urban centres

        Age of Housing Stock NSS State Decadal
        Labour Wages NBO,  Ministry of Labour Selected urban centres Quarterly
        Material and Labour Constants PWD, Field study House: case study dependent One time
        Consumption Expenditure and Housing Investment NSS, RBI, Field study State Decadal, NSS Round
        Availability of Services

        Census, NSS

        District (Census), State (NSS)

        Decadal, NSS round

        Sectoral Employment Census, NSS

        District (Census),

        State (NSS)

        Decadal, NSS round
        Building Cost Index


        City Quarterly
        Housing Investment NBO State Yearly
        Building Permits and Completion Certificates NBO State Yearly
        Social Housing NBO State Yearly
        Housing Shortage Estimates NBO State Yearly
        Urban Indicators NBO City or State Ad hoc
        Addition to Plinth and Floor Area NBO State or Agency Yearly
        Investment in Building Construction NBO State or Agency


        Addition to Housing Stock NBO State or Agency


    • Data Gaps
      • 8.3.40 One of the major limitations is the non-availability of housing data in terms of housing units. This apart, the following data gaps have been identified as far as housing is concerned:
        • Access of housing units to facilities such as water supply, sanitation, etc.;
        • Housing finance data from other than public sector finance companies;
        • Data relating to additions made in housing stock by the industrial sector. (These used to be previously collected through Part III of the ASI schedule have now been discontinued.); and
        • Information on housing stock in the sectors including slums, squatter settlements and unauthorised colonies.
      • 8.3.41 The following data are also required by various agencies such as the Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment:
        • Number of single-woman or woman-headed household
        • Shelterless population
        • Age profile of housing stock
        • Social group-wise classification of shelters
        • Employment in construction section
        • Wage structure in building industry
        • Market rents data
        • Share of housing in GDP.
    • Conclusions and Recommendations
      • 8.3.42 The data requirements listed above should be collected on a regular basis through censuses and sample surveys. The local self-governments should also be involved in the compilation of Housing Statistics based on the house completion certificates. Where high frequency data cannot be collected, housing surveys should be carried out periodically preferably during the intervening period between two censuses. The frequency of such surveys should be at most 10 years, but more preferably every 5 years. Further, the collection mechanism of prices of building materials and wage rates should be examined by an expert group for suggesting improvements in the mechanism of data collection and dissemination. The Commission recommends that:
        • The NSSO, NBO and Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India should take steps to bridge the data gaps on Housing Statistics through surveys and censuses.
        • The local self-governments should be involved in compilation of Housing Statistics based on the house completion certificates. The concerned Ministry in each of the State and Union Territory Governments should consolidate the information for the State or Union Territory and release the same.
        • An expert group should be set up by the NBO to examine the collection mechanism of prices of building materials and wage rates for suggesting improvements in the mechanism of data collection and dissemination.
  • Postal Services
    • Current Status
      • 8.3.43 Government postal operations are under strain on account of competition from other delivery services. As in most situations, where the entry of private operators dilutes the quality of data available, so also in the case of postal services the process of data collection needs to recognise these changes. In this context, it is important that adequate information be collected regarding the level of operations of alternatives to postal services namely, courier services, which form a part of the Services Sector. The data availability on postal services should include:
        • Registered and unregistered traffic;
        • Revenue collected from different categories of postal services;
        • The above data should be available zone-wise;
        • Origin-destination of postal traffic; and
        • Timeliness of delivery.
      • 8.3.44 The main agency responsible for the compilation and release of Postal Statistics is the statistical section in the Department of Post. Primary data sources are the delivery post offices, major post offices of each of the 19 postal circles and all postal circles. The types of data compiled include traffic – registered and unregistered, average revenue of postal articles, foreign airmail and surface mail – traffic and category-wise staff statistics.
    • Deficiencies
      • 8.3.45 A major problem faced by the Department of Post is in the estimation of unregistered traffic. At present, unregistered traffic estimates are based on the results of half-yearly enumeration of 28 days. They are found to be on the higher side keeping in view the revenue earned from these articles. Rationalisation of the procedure might yield more reliable results. The feasibility of estimating unregistered traffic by the residual method after deducting other revenues earned from the total revenue may also be explored and if necessary also by doing some type studies. It may be mentioned that the Department of Post is assisted by two institutions namely, (i) the Indian Institute of Applied Manpower Research (IAMR), and (ii) the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) for developing a scientific method of statistical sampling for assessing the traffic of unregistered mail and co-relating the same with the revenue realised. A Committee has been constituted for examining the recommendations of the reports of these studies for necessary action.
      • 8.3.46 There are very few statistical personnel in the Department of Post. In the absence of statistical units in the field, i.e. in the circle offices, there are not only delays in the release of statistics but also in the understanding of statistical terminologies. Thus there is a need to provide qualified statistical staff at least in the major postal circles apart from strengthening the training of field-level staff. Further, it is desirable to have an advanced dissemination system, which could probably be taken care of by introducing the latest Information Technologies. Increasingly letters, parcels, packets, etc. are being delivered by courier services. The number of such services is extremely large. There is a need to obtain information on the operations of at least the large courier compaines to begin with.
    • Recommendations
      • 8.3.47 The Commission recommends the following:
        • The database on postal services should be strengthened by the Department of Post to have zone-wise data, including the data on revenue collected from different categories of postal services, origin-destination of postal traffic and timeliness of delivery.
        • In order to reduce delays in the release of statistics, qualified statistical staff should be provided at least in the major postal circles.
        • The system of dissemination of Postal Statistics should be improved by introducing the latest information technologies.
        • Information on the operations of courier services should also be collected through the proposed Survey of Non-Manufacturing Industries and Follow-up Enterprise Surveys.
  • Urban Infrastructure
    • 8.3.48 The Commission made reference to one aspect of Urban Infrastructure above namely, housing. However, Urban Infrastructure has a wider connotation. The following aspects seem relevant, apart from housing and efforts be made to bridge any gaps.
      • Urban transportation, including roads and railways
      • Water supply
      • Sanitation and sewerage
      • Street lighting
      • Electricity supply
      • Communications including telecommunications, public phones, public fax services, public Internet,e-mail facilities, postal service, courier services, etc.
      • Airports and air transportation
      • Schooling facilities
      • Public health facilities.
    • Current Status
      • 8.3.49 The National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), which has been periodically preparing the Handbook on Urban Statistics, gives the following information:
        • Percentage of population covered with drinking water and sanitation facilities;
        • Sources of finance for Urban Infrastructure;
        • Urban Infrastructure finance, HUDCO release;
        • HUDCO's commulative Urban Infrastructure sanctioned abstract (scheme-wise);
        • HUDCO's integrated low-cost sanitation scheme sanctioned;
        • Cost recovery of HUDCO's sanctioned water supply schemes;
        • Urban water-supply programme: List of schemes approved under State Plan and LIC loan;
        • World Bank, OECF and Japan aided water supply and sanitation projects;
        • Estimates of per-capita investment norms at 1995 prices;
        • Estimated infrastructure investment at 1990-91 prices;
        • Revenue enhancements required for additional capital investments;
        • Required aggregate incremental investment in infrastructure at 1995 prices;
        • Required incremental investment for various Urban Infrastructure services;
        • Investment requirement in Urban Infrastructure by size-class of towns;
        • Pattern of investment on water supply and sanitation by public sector;
        • Scheme-wise outlay and anticipated expenditure on water supply and sanitation;
        • Outlay and expenditure on water supply and sanitation;
        • Centrally-sponsored scheme for infrastructure development in mega cities; and
        • Financial and physical progress of Centrally-sponsored schemes for infrastructure development in
        • mega cities.
      • 8.3.50 The Handbook has been published since 1993 and its periodicity is once in two years. There is an urgent need to access such information on an annual basis. In addition, the information on Urban Infrastructure is available in a dispersed form from the following sources:
    • Data Gaps
      • 8.3.51 The following data gaps exist:
        • The existing database on Urban Infrastructure other than housing available in various agencies is generally based on schemes and projects. Such a database on the Urban Infrastructure cover information about only those towns, cities or specific project areas that are covered under a particular scheme or programme and do not cover the entire urban structure of all the towns or cities;
        • The Town Directory brought out by the Census of India gives some information of facilities at the town level, but it is a decennial publication. By the time the data are made available they become obsolete;
        • At the local level a lot of data on Urban Infrastructure is available with the line departments but efforts are not made by any agency to compile and publish the same at the town level at regular intervals;
        • The overall picture regarding coverage under physical infrastructure like water supply, sewerage, drainage, etc. may be available at the national and State level either through estimation or extrapolation but the disaggregated picture at the town level particularly at the intra-city level is not available;
        • While preparing the Master Plan or Development Plan, the State Town and Country Planning Departments and City Development authorities make efforts to collect data on various aspects including Urban Infrastructure. But this remains a one-time exercise to be undertaken once in 15-20 years, not to be updated with regular periodicity;
        • Data on certain aspects such as urban land use patterns, urban environmental parameters, urban income and expenditure pattern at a disaggregated level are not readily available and neither are any efforts made to generate such data.
    • Conclusions and Recommendations
      • 8.3.52 Data on Urban Infrastructure are not available from one comprehensive source. Further, most of the sources are private which makes the reliability and periodicity of the data inadequate. The Commission recommends that:
        • An official publication on Urban Infrastructure Statistics should be brought out by the Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation.
        • The publication should cover the identified data requirements, data gaps as well as other emerging requirements.
        • The States’ Directorates of Economics and Statistics should vigorously pursue the programme of compiling and publishing Municipal Year Books.
  • Rural Infrastructure
    • 8.3.53 Even though Urban Infrastructure is often the focus of attention, it is fair to see that the strain on such infrastructure could well be reduced by providing better Rural Infrastructure. This, it is apparent, will reduce the incentives for migration to urban areas. An inventory of data on the following aspects of Rural Infrastructure needs to be carried out so that gaps that are apparent must be removed as soon as possible:
      • Rural transportation, for example, length of roads, distance from railway stations
      • Supply of safe drinking water
      • Sanitation and sewerage
      • Canal networks for irrigation
      • Electricity supply, for example, number of metered connections
      • Communications facilities, for example, distance to nearest post office, availability of telephone connections
      • Basic schooling facilities, for example, distance to nearest school, number of teachers, availability of permanent structure for classrooms
      • Public health facilities, for example, distance to nearest hospital, community health-centre and sub-centre, number of beds, number of medical and para medical staff
      • Watershed development, for example, expenditure by local Government on the activity
      • Rural forestry, for example, expenditure by the local Government, area covered.
    • 8.3.54 Much of the data listed above would be available in a dispersed form. This makes it difficult for researchers and policy makers to obtain a comprehensive picture of Rural Infrastructure.
    • Conclusions and Recommendations
      • 8.3.55 Data on Rural Infrastructure are not available with one comprehensive source. The Commission recommends that:
        • The possibility of bringing out a publication on Rural Infrastructure Statistics should be explored by the Ministry of Rural Development.
        • The publication should cover the identified data requirements, data gaps as well as other emerging requirements.
  • Energy Sector excluding Electricity
    • 8.3.56 Even though the term infrastructure as defined here differs from the approach followed in the Economic Survey, it is important that attention is focused on the operation of at least some of the sectors considered by the Survey. These sectors are:
      • Petroleum
      • Coal
      • Natural Gas
      • Solar Energy
      • Nuclear Energy.
    • Data Requiremnets
      • 8.3.57 The following common list may be proposed for data requirements from each of the Sectors mentioned above. The data should be available, ideally, at frequencies greater than one year. Further, the data should be available on a zonal and State-wise basis.
        • Production levels, both in public and private sectors (wherever relevant);
        • Reserves available, appropriately divided into total availability and commercially recoverable;
        • Indicators of physical and financial efficiency;
        • Use pattern of energy produced by each Sector;
        • Relative comparison of energy efficiency of usage and relative costs;
        • Value of capital assets in each Sector.
    • Conclusions and Recommendations
      • 8.3.58 Much of the data pertaining to diverse Energy Sectors (excluding electricity) would be available with the various agencies in charge of producing such energy. The Commission recommends that:
        • Efforts should be made by the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy (for Solar Energy); Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (for Petroleum and Natural Gas); Department of Atomic Energy (for Nuclear Energy); and Ministry of Coal (for Coal) to provide data pertaining to Energy Sector (excluding electricity) to the Planning Commission which should then produce a comprehensive document covering the identified data requirements as well as other emerging requirements.
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