Population and Basic Statistics at the Local Level
Population Census (Para 9.2.16)
A timetable for the conduct of various activities of the Population Census right from preparatory work, enumeration work, data processing and tabulation should be finalised sufficiently well in advance and adhered to strictly. To begin with, the plan of release of tables of the Census 2001 must be drastically changed and the census organisation must give the highest priority to speedy data entry and processing of the Census 2001 to bring out all the final tables within a period of three years. Similar timetable should be prepared for all future decennial population censuses. For achieving this task, necessary help from the Public Sector Undertakings and the Private Sector should be taken.
The census organisation must accord utmost priority for modernising the entire census operations by acquiring modern processing equipments and utilising the latest technological advancements in the field of information technology and printing for speedier processing and dissemination of census results. The highest priority should be given to tabulate as much data as possible at the district and block levels. These data should be made available to the rural and urban local authorities and district planning authorities without much delay so that programmes for local development are based on latest official data. Tabulation plans and data presentations should be from bottom up levels rather than attempting to provide an aggregated national picture. The usual sequence of data release is to produce key tables for all India and States first, followed by State tables and only at the end; the Primary Census Abstract (PCA) becomes available in published form. It is not necessary to stick to this pattern in the interest of providing early data at the local levels.
There is a need to think afresh about the Post Enumeration Check (PEC) by modifying the old sampling design in consultation with sampling experts. Further, to enhance the credibility and faith in census operations, the PEC should be entrusted to an independent agency or a group of agencies.
There is a need to re-examine the issue of non-publication of information such as, cross-classification of data on religion, caste and language by literacy, work, migration, etc. in the census. Further, data on most of the social and cultural aspects should be provided at least at the district level.
The literacy data for age 15 years and above, which is the internationally accepted minimum age for which literacy data are published, should be released on priority basis.
In the Census 2001 and Census 1991, the definition of economic activity has been expanded by including cultivation of certain crops for self-consumption. The Census 2001 tabulation plan must provide the details so that the contribution of additional economic activities included in the year 2001 is available separately to enable comparability with the results of the Census 1991. The Census should strive to adopt standardised concepts and definitions for comparability of data from other sources and to meet international standards. However, as far as possible, data according to the previously used concepts and definitions should also be made available separately, for comparison across the censuses.
Considering the increasing functional requirements and growing expectations from census, the status of the Census Commissioner and of the statistical officers providing statistical support to the Census Commissioner should be upgraded. The Fifth Central Pay Commission has also recommended upgradation of post of Census Commissioner to the Additional Secretary level and one post of Joint Registrar General of India (RGI), to the level of Joint Secretary. It is, therefore, recommended that the Census Commissioner should be upgraded to the Chief Census Commissioner in the rank of Additional Secretary and supported by one Census Commissioner from Indian Statistical Service in the rank of Joint Secretary to provide the requisite technical support to the Chief Census Commissioner.
The work of Registrar General of India and Census Commissioner should be separated. The job of the Registrar General of India should be to implement the provisions of Civil Registration Act and conduct of related surveys, while that of Census Commissioner should be to manage the census operations. Since the job of the RGI involves a lot of statistical expertise as surveys such as Sample Registration System, Causes of Death, etc. have to be conducted, the post of RGI should be manned by an officer at the Joint Secretary level from Indian Statistical Service. The RGI should function under the overall guidance of the Chief Census Commissioner.
Basic Statistics for Local Level Development (Para 9.2.22)
The Population Census provides valuable information on a number of items/variables of the population from village level upward that is published in the District Census Handbooks. The primary census abstract for Census 2001 at each village and community development block level should be compiled at the earliest and made available to the panchayats and local bodies for planning and development.
A minimum list of variables/indicators that should be collected at village level should be identified and a system of their compilation and aggregation should be established. Similarly, the variables and indicators required for aggregation at the district, State and National levels should also be identified. The community block should be the first level of aggregation for village level information.
Blocks should have qualified statistical personnel (e.g. Block Statistical Assistant) with facility of a personal computer (PC), networked to district where data required at the district level would be aggregated. Such a statistical functionary already exists in many States. This statistical functionary should be trained in data entry, simple database systems, tabulations and data transmission to higher authorities and to panchayats below in appropriately summarised pre-designed format.
The data compiled by all Government departments at the village and block level in respect of the identified variables/indicators should be supplied to the Block Statistical Assistant periodically, who will maintain the block level data and also disseminate the same to the panchayats/local bodies on one hand and to the district on the other hand. A system for ensuring a regular flow of information from all the Government departments to the block level statistical personnel should be established.
The additional data required to meet the specific requirements of local level planning should be decided and collected at the local level itself without any prescription from the district and State levels.
A Committee of Experts comprising representatives from the concerned agencies should be constituted to review the efforts already made in the past by various Groups and Committees and suggest a minimum list of variables on which data need to be collected at the local level for rural and urban areas. The Committee should suggest a comprehensive scheme for collection of this dataset in pre-designed formats, data sources, periodicity of updating, aggregation level (block, district, State and National) for each variable, agencies responsible for collection, compilation and aggregation, and transmission of information from blocks downwards to panchayats/local bodies and upwards to district, State and National levels. The Committee should complete its work in a time bound manner and its recommendations after due examination should be implemented by the Government within the suggested time frame.
For the variables, on which the data are not compiled and updated periodically based on regular administrative records or frequent sample surveys, but data on which are necessary for planning at district and lower levels, attempt should be made to estimate them through the use of small area estimation techniques, since the present large scale sample surveys usually provide estimates of various parameters only at State and National levels. Studies for developing appropriate small area estimation techniques for estimating socio-economic parameters at the disaggregated level should be taken up by the National Statistical Office.
Uniform Area Codes for Districts, Villages and Urban Blocks (Para 9.2.23)
Attempt should be made to develop uniform area codes for districts, blocks and villages at the National level, which would facilitate permanent and unique identification of every village and urban block in the country. These codes should include, as a part, necessary geo-codes, which should be sufficient to locate them in a map.
Village level digitised maps showing data on minimum variables and indicators can be produced with the presently available satellite image based mapping procedures. Geo-codes should be developed on the basis of these base maps. The geo-coding of the primary unit areas such as villages and urban blocks within such a map can be taken up in consultation with agencies such as Indian Space Research Organisation, Census Commissioner, Surveyor General of India and Anthropological Survey of India.
Centralised Database of Citizens (Population Register) (Para 9.2.27)
A centralised database of the citizens of the country with a system of issuing a unique identification number/card has several potential benefits to its citizens and will improve the efficiency of administration. The project, if implemented, will have obvious benefits to the statistical system.
Health and Family Welfare Statistics
Health Management Information System (Para 9.3.13)
A comprehensive assessment of the Health Management Information System (HMIS) should be made by a small Committee quickly and HMIS be reintroduced in the country in a phased manner with necessary modifications. The combined HMIS format should be separated into programme-wise modules. While revising the programme modules, care should be taken to meet the data requirements of both the Central and State Governments. Flexibility should be given to the States and UTs to include additional items to meet their State specific data requirements.
Steps should be taken to rationalise and minimise the number of records and registers maintained by the peripheral health workers such as ANMs and public health inspectors to reduce their burden and to improve the quality of data. The minimum data set on which data from the grass root levels should be regularly collected along with their periodicity should be clearly identified.
There is a need for computerisation of the administrative records of all specialised hospitals and general-purpose hospitals and other treatment facilities both in the public and the private sectors. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) Coding System for Medical Records should be adopted for generating morbidity and mortality data. There should be systematic training given to all medical personnel on the use of ICD.
The system needs to be revamped and expanded to include information on private sector health facilities by adopting an integrated approach for capturing data on both allopathic and Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy.
Data relating to non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, mental disorders should also be collected through the HMIS.
A suitable mechanism to collect the data at the grass roots level and its upward transmission to the district, State and the National level should be evolved and for that methods of data collection, transmission, and processing must be modernised. As National Informatics Centre facilities are inadequate to meet the requirements of HMIS, adequate funds need to be provided for necessary hardware, software and connectivity and training of personnel.
The Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI), which is at present a part of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) should be separated and upgraded to a full-fledged Directorate of Health Statistics (DHS) directly under the Department of Health. An officer from the Indian Statistical Service at the Additional Secretary level should head this Directorate and act as the Statistical Adviser to the Department of Health. Also required posts of supporting officers should be created. The DHS should be the nodal agency in matters of health statistics and should advise the Department in all matters related to the collection of Health Statistics; coordinate with the National Statistical Office; agencies in the Central and State Governments as well as international agencies in matters related to medical and health statistics.
The CBHI upgraded as DHS should be strengthened with adequate Electronic Data Processing (EDP) personnel and existing personnel should be trained in EDP operations, to enable the processing, tabulation and presentation of the large volume of data on health. Adequate funds out of the national health programmes should be earmarked for development and maintenance of information system as well as for verification of field level performance data through independent agencies.
In order to facilitate effective implementation of the HMIS in the States and UTs, the State Department of Health and Family Welfare in every State should have a Statistical Division headed by a senior level statistical officer. In the districts, a health statistics cell should be set up in the Office of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) to implement HMIS and to take care of all health and family welfare statistical activities of the district.
All States should bring out District Health Profile for each district containing information on medical and health facilities, personnel employed in health facilities, public health information, epidemic situation of the district, etc.
Data on Morbidity and Mortality at Disaggregated Levels (Para 9.3.15)
There should be periodic sample surveys of households on morbidity in the country, by trained investigators taking in to account the seasonal variations in diseases. These data should be analysed as quickly as possible and the morbidity patterns in the country should be published regularly. The National Statistical System should bring out regularly the morbidity and mortality patterns in the different age groups at least at the district/regional levels including for the diseases like T.B. and AIDS.
The morbidity and mortality surveys should be conducted in two stages. While at the first stage, the data could be collected on a fairly large sample; at the second stage, data from a sub-sample may be collected and verified by trained medical functionaries on certain specific aspects like causes of death, maternal mortality audit, etc.
As recommended by the Khusro Committee, the quality of data on infant, child and maternal mortality can be greatly improved by conducting comprehensive sample surveys of pregnant women and by a follow up of these over one or more years after childbirth. Such surveys can be conducted on a small scale at local levels.
There should be a procedure for medical certification of the cause of death to be implemented at least on a sample basis throughout the country regularly, in order to have a better understanding of the causes/factors underlying deaths in the country. The death records should include symptom-based information on the possible cause of death.
The scheme of Medical Certification of Cause of Death (MCCD) envisaged under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 should be strengthened. The State Governments should attach a high priority to the implementation of this scheme both in the rural and urban areas. There should be a system for prompt reporting of deaths due to certain diseases, like cholera, polio, malaria, diphtheria, etc. so that immediate preventive and curative measures can be taken.
The statistical system in all hospitals, nursing homes and other treatment facilities and dispensaries including those in the private sector should necessarily include certain basic information on each patient and this information in prescribed formats should flow to Health Statistical System within a fixed time frame. Computerisation of birth, morbidity and mortality records should be done in phases and should be coded with ICD-10 codes to facilitate processing.
Data on Expenditure and Social Consumption on Health (Para 9.3.17)
The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in consultation with the concerned Central Ministries, Planning Commission, State Governments and other concerned agencies should develop a suitable mechanism for collection and dissemination of plan and non-plan expenditure on infrastructure and manpower in the health sector, data on investment and expenditure from private organisations, NGOs and externally assisted projects.
The data on availing health facilities and expenditure by households should continue to be captured more comprehensively from the NSSO’s surveys, which should be conducted on a quinquennial basis.
The cost of specialised treatment in respect of certain diseases such as kidney transplant, cardio-vascular surgery, etc. should be compiled institution-wise and published at least on an annual basis for the benefit of public. The NGOs and Medical Associations should be encouraged to publish and disseminate this information.
Information from the Private Health Sector (Para 9.3.19)
The Centre should formulate a model Act for registering and regulating health facilities in the private sector. All the States should bring out State level Acts for this purpose on the lines of the model Act. A system of periodical filing of statistical returns with the statutory body should be established. The law should have provision for penalty and even deregistration for failing to file such information with the statutory authority.
The statistical system in all hospitals and dispensaries should necessarily include certain basic information on ailments of inpatients and outpatients, health personnel, health infrastructure such as number of beds, income and expenditure, etc. and such information on a regular basis should be furnished to the National Statistical System, so as to become a part of an improved database on health.
Information for Manpower Planning in the Health Sector (Para 9.3.21)
The statistical system in the Medical Councils concerned with Allopathic, Homeopathic, Dentistry, Indian System of Medicine and paramedical personnel should be strengthened to provide updated data on number of medical and paramedical personnel in both the rural and urban areas at least upto the district level.
The information on all medical practitioners, dentists, paramedical personnel, pharmacists and nurses of various systems should be compiled by the Councils and be made available at the district level and should be updated every two years. They should also be made available on Internet.
Methodology for Couple Protection Rate (Para 9.3.22)
The data on Couple Protection Rate (CPR) provided by the Department of Family Welfare should be critically looked in to for the relation it bears to actual contraceptive prevalence rate. Suitable modifications should be made to re-define the data needs on contraceptive acceptance, use of family planning methods and computation of the couple protection rate from official statistics.
The methodology for estimating the Couple Protection Rate (CPR) should be revised, if necessary in view of the recommendations made by the Committee set up by the Department of Family Welfare for this purpose.
National Family Health Surveys (Para 9.3.23)
National Family Health Surveys similar to those conducted in 1992-93 and 1998-99 should be conducted periodically using national resources, if funds are not available from any other agency.
Use of Information Technology in Improving Health Statistics (Para 9.3.24)
Steps should be taken for the adoption of Information Technology and introduction of a unified system of computerisation and networking for data transmission from one level to another, to reduce delays in transmission and compilation of Health Statistics, and to improve the data quality, to derive various indicators and to retrieve information promptly on health related issues as and when needed.
Civil Registration System (Para 9.3.32)
There should be a more pro-active Civil Registration System in place of the existing passive system. In rural areas, panchayats, local bodies and other basic and primary workers apart from Auxiliary Nurses, Midwives, Village Watchmen, should play an active role in informing the Registrar about the occurrence of vital events. They should collect birth and death information from households and deliver the same to the Registrar. All States should implement this as a part of strategy to improve the registration. This can be achieved by giving the local level workers the responsibility for informing and collection of reports of events and getting them registered.
Within a State, as far as possible, only one department of the Government should be responsible upto the district level for implementing the provisions of the Registration of Births and Deaths (RBD) Act. Where multiple departments are involved, inter-departmental coordination committees should ensure effective and periodic reviews to propose measures for improving registration levels and provision of registration services by drawing up a plan of action. This requires tight monitoring and supervision of the registration work at the field level.
Recognising the increasing role of local self-governance in the light of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments and considering the fact that quite a few States in the country have already taken initiative in this direction, the panchayats in the rural areas and Municipalities in the urban areas should gradually be given the responsibility for registration of births, deaths and marriages.
Sufficient resources should be provided to the agencies implementing the RBD Act. The Planning Commission should provide funding to the States for this purpose. Further, to improve the availability of required forms and registers used for registration of vital events, the Central Government should bear the expenditure on this account.
Regular training programmes should be organised by the States for Registration officials at all levels. The ‘Registrar’s Manual for Registration of Births and Deaths’ being prepared by RGI should be made available to all concerned, and training programmes should be conducted to impart training to all Registrars in the use of the manual.
The revamped system of registration of births and deaths in the country introduced by Registrar General of India, mainly with a view to strengthen the statistical functions of the CRS and to reduce paper work at the level of the local Registrar, by facilitating computerised data entry, easy retrieval of records and reducing storage requirements of records, should be vigorously implemented in all the States. There should be special emphasis on the monitoring and supervision of the system particularly for poorly performing States in order to enhance their performance.
Production of birth and death certificates should be encouraged for various purposes, as it will help in improving the overall registration of vital events. For example, the production of birth certificates should be made mandatory for entering the name of new-born child in the ration card, school admission, etc. and death certificates for settling insurance claims and for inheritance of property by legal heirs, in case it is not so already in any State and UT.
Considering the stated goal in the National Population Policy of 100 per cent registration of marriages by 2010, sustained efforts should be made to achieve this goal through the Civil Registration System by suitably amending the RBD Act for registration of all marriages and divorces.
Public campaigns should be launched to create awareness among the general public about the need and importance of registration of births and deaths. Also steps should be taken to improve customer services by making registration centres more visible, prompt issue of birth and death certificates, simplifying the procedure, making registration in big hospitals more efficient, and proper preservation and maintenance of records of vital events.
Acknowledging the fact that an efficient Civil Registration System is the lasting solution to produce a regular series of vital rates e.g., fertility, mortality, etc. specific for age, sex, and educational level upto the district and even lower levels, the ultimate goal should be to put in place the Civil Registration System in the next 10 years and to use the Sample Registration System (SRS) as a source of data for longitudinal study of the social dynamics of the country and as a means of validating the CRS data.
Recourse to Information Technology (IT) should be taken for establishment of an effective system of civil registration that would provide prompt service to the public and help in quick retrieval of information for both administrative requirements and statistical purposes. As the costs of hardware and network communications will come down in the coming years, decentralised data entry and data transmission at the Registration level should be the goal to be achieved within a few years. Sustained efforts should be made for adoption of IT in modernising the CRS. The computers provided by the Department of Family Welfare, Government of India may be utilised for this purpose as well.
Labour and Employment Statistics (Para 9.4.34)
The inspectors of the Labour Department and Factory Inspectorate, during their routine inspections of the units, should also check the status of submission of returns. The provisions of various Labour Acts should be vigorously implemented and enforced for defaulting units. Further, if required, legal provisions should be strengthened and penalties made more stringent to act as a deterrent. The renewal of licence of the units should be subject to satisfactory submission of returns in the past.
A system of regular meeting of the officials from Government Labour Departments with representatives from business/manufacturers associations should be established. The associations would be instrumental in persuading their member units to submit the returns prescribed under various statutory and other provisions in time. The units submitting the returns should be duly acknowledged.
To make the units aware of their obligation to furnish the returns correctly and in a time, periodical notices should be issued in the leading newspapers by the concerned authorities.
The Ministry of Labour should undertake immediate measures to rationalise and simplify returns prescribed under various Acts. Combined returns that cater to the requirements of more than one Act should be designed, to the extent possible, in order to reduce the burden of units/establishments. In a liberalised economic environment, this will be a step forward and will find great favour in the industry. To achieve this, if required, necessary amendments should be brought out in the various Labour Acts. Government of India has set up a Labour Commission and the Ministry of Labour should take up this issue with the Commission.
The Labour Bureau should strengthen its on-going programme for training of staff in collection, compilation and analysis of data received from the State Governments, as well as from the agencies preparing and submitting the returns. The States should also start such training programmes for the staff of units/establishments supplying information/returns to them.
To overcome the problem of non-response from the primary units, a tightening of the administrative machinery is the only solution. However, in respect of those Acts where the degree of non-response is not very high, the Labour Bureau should conduct sample surveys regularly to work out estimates for non-responding units. In cases of very high non-response such as Payment of Wages Act, Minimum Wages Act, Trade Union Act, Motor Transport Workers Act, etc. certain studies on the degree of non-response should be conducted to understand the magnitude of the problem.
For the sake of uniformity in the collection and dissemination of Labour Statistics, it is necessary that the variety of definitions for a single concept be avoided. This issue should also be taken up with the Labour Commission so that the inconsistencies of various definitions used in different Acts could be removed. The Ministry of Labour should take up the necessary steps in this direction.
In order to meet the requirements of various International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions, the Labour Bureau should formulate an action plan especially for ILO Convention Number 160, covering Labour Statistics
There is a need to computerise the working of all organisations engaged in the generation of Labour and Employment Statistics at the Central and State levels. A Labour Information Network integrating all such organisations should be established within the Ministry of Labour for maintenance, coordination and data dissemination.
The statistical system in the Labour Departments in the States should be strengthened from district level onwards. At the Centre, there is a need for strengthening or establishing statistical units in various divisions/directorates like Child Labour, Directorate General of Factory Advice Services & Labour Institute (DGFASLI), Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGE&T), etc. of the Ministry of Labour. Further, in the Labour Bureau, there is a need for re-structuring of posts between economic and statistical professionals keeping in view the job functions and to meet the growing demand for Labour Statistics. As most of the functions of the Labour Bureau are statistical in nature, the organisation should be headed by a qualified statistician, as was in the past.
The role of Employment Exchange as a placement agency and as a source of labour market information has diluted over the years and needs to be re-established by integrating the labour market information available with private placement agencies along with the Employment Exchanges and making them furnish information on placements, type of jobs, extent of demand, qualifications, industry, etc. A Committee should examine the role of the Employment Exchanges as the source of labour market information and career counselling and how it can work in partnership with private placement agencies.
There are serious shortcomings in the Live Register data of the Employment Exchanges as an indicator of unemployment in the country due to inadequate coverage problems. Therefore, for the purpose of drawing valid conclusions on levels of unemployment, etc. the data on the Live Register of Employment Exchanges should be adjusted and updated annually with the help of ratios/multipliers made available by the labour force survey of the NSSO.
Though the DGE&T makes attempts at collection and analyses of data on the state of the labour market from the information supplied by the Employment Exchanges, the infrastructure available with the Employment Exchanges is inadequate to compile and forward the necessary data to the DGE&T in time. Therefore, it is recommended that, a comprehensive programme of computerisation and networking of all Employment Exchanges in the country, development of required software and appropriate training programmes should be taken up.
The exclusion of certain non-market economic activities, from the definition of work adopted in Population Census could be the reason for the low female participation rates derived from the Census 1991 compared to the rates obtained from National Sample Survey Orgnisation’s (NSSO’s) 50th Round. In order to cross check the data from the two sources, it is recommended that the census should adopt the same definition as that of NSSO. This is important to overcome the criticism of under-count in the census data of women workers, which becomes a serious limitation of its utility as a source of economic data. In the Census, 2001, the definition of economic activity adopted has been expanded and modified to reconcile this position.
The current practice of tabulation of Census data by the regional offices should continue. However, in order to make available the State level data to the users early, the practice of withholding the release of tabulated data of the region till the All-India tables are released should be done away with. Further, the latest advances in the technology for data processing, analyses and printing should be utilized so that the delays can be brought down and dissemination of data is improved.
More probing questions from the informants on subsidiary work in NSSO’s quinquennial survey would enable the capturing of information on part-time and intermittent work, which is likely to become very common in the near future.
The NSSO should provide standard error of estimates of employment related variables so that the differences in the estimates projected by annual and quinquennial rounds are explained.
The NSSO classifies an individual who worked for an hour on any day of the reference week as worker by weekly status. To study the intensity of unemployment (or employment) during the reference week, NSSO should publish data on distribution of persons by, number of days at work and total intensity of work during the reference week.
Efforts should be made to compile data on migration of skilled manpower to foreign countries, to capture information on the skills of the emigrant and on the nature of work to which the emigrant is moving out at the place of destination. A system of collecting annual information from the placement agencies for overseas employment should be established to capture this information.
The data management system on social security should be computerised so as to ensure better management of Employees State Insurance (ESI), Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and other social security Acts.
Child labour poses a complicated and a multi-dimensional problem. The time disposition study of young people along with a classification of their activities into economic and non-economic types can give an insight into the dimension of this problem. For this purpose, a methodological study or survey should be conducted to evolve methods for capturing the problems of child labour.
Considering the inherent problems in data collection for bonded labour, as suggested by the L.K. Deshpande Study Group, household surveys should be conducted to ascertain socio-economic circumstances like debt, caste, etc. which lead to the practice of bondage in the areas and activities where there is a tendency to employ bonded labour. The Ministry of Labour should commission such studies in areas and activities prone to bondage.
There is a considerable time lag in the publication on Labour Statistics brought out by various agencies. Efforts should be made by all the concerned agencies to take steps that are necessary to reduce the time lag at all stages of work so that published data are available to the users with a minimum time lag.
Quality, Reliability and Time lag in Educational Statistics (Para 9.5.14)
The institutional records such as registers of admission, attendance, stock, and teacher’s registers, etc. should be maintained properly by all institutions. State Departments of Education should facilitate maintenance of records by supplying suitable registers and guidelines to schools. During school inspection, inspectors and officers of the State Department of Education should check the records to ensure that these are up-to-date and are maintained as per guidelines. Suitable manuals should be provided to the concerned teachers and staff for this purpose while some training programmes should also be organised for them at the State and district levels.
Scrutiny and verification of all filled-in-forms should be done meticulously at the block level. Errors and omissions should be checked at the block level itself for primary/elementary schools and at the district level for secondary and post-secondary institutions. In order to ensure accuracy of data, verification should be undertaken by the concerned authorities while undertaking inspections. This should not only include scrutiny and verification of records but an on-the-spot assessment of actual situation that exists in respect of enrolment, attendance, teachers in position and facilities that exist in schools.
Computerisation of education data at all levels is needed to tackle the problems of quality, consistency, reliability and time lag in data transfer and data retrieval. Use of Information Technology and Internet facilities should be made for data transmission from district to the State and from State to National level. Computerisation will not only reduce the time lag, but in due course of time, it should also do away with the system of supplying State level compiled statistics on cumbersome forms such as Educational Statistics – I (ES-I), Educational Statistics – II (ES-II), etc. A computerised Educational Management Information System should be developed right from the district level to the State and National levels. The Educational Management Information System (EMIS) that has been developed for District Primary Education Project (DPEP) districts should be expanded and implemented in all the districts of the country for collection, processing and dissemination of all educational statistics upto the higher secondary stage.
Efforts should be made to provide accurate data on the number of institutions, teachers and students (by sex, grade, SC/ST, rural/urban, etc.) for each level and type of education within a year in the publication, Selected Educational Statistics, which is a very widely used source of Educational Statistics. Other detailed statistics should be included in subsequent publications, which should be produced within 2 years, and not with a time lag of 5 to 6 years as at present. The main results of large-scale surveys that provide educational data, such as those conducted by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and NSSO should be available in published form within a year of the date of reference with the detailed results being made available within 2 years. A detailed timetable should be prepared and all data collection and compilation activities at every level should be monitored to ensure strict adherence to the timetable.
The administrators in charge of education and human resource development should pay sufficient attention and give priority to the tasks of data collection and compilation. Some incentives and recognition should be given for supplying accurate information on time. Also punitive measures may be taken in the case of inordinate delays and carelessness in filling forms, for example, release of funds to schools could be made dependent on the receipt of statistical returns on time.
The present sets of Educational Statistics (ES) forms in which data are being supplied by the States to the Ministry of Human Resource Development are unwieldy and need to be rationalised. These forms would, however, no longer be needed when the computerised system become operational.
For collecting and compiling all Educational Statistics, the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 1997) developed by United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO) should be used to ensure standardisation and comparability of data across the States and internationally.
Non-availability of Data on Some Important Items (Para 9.5.16)
The forms for collecting data annually from schools should be reviewed and new items on which data are needed annually, but not collected at present, should be included. Data on a minimum set of items should be collected by all the States, while the States should be free to add items that they consider important specifically for the State.
Data on the age of students, teachers’ qualifications and experience, income and expenditure of private schools, incentive schemes, educational facilities and equipment, children with disabilities, etc. should be collected in the All India Educational (AIE) Surveys on school education to be conducted by NCERT. The data on age and some other items should be collected on a sample basis in these surveys.
All India Educational Surveys on school education should be conducted regularly at intervals of five years and the results of the survey should be published within two years of the date of reference. Data on some of the items should be collected only on a sample basis, as was done in the Sixth All India Educational Survey of 1993.
All schools should be given a permanent code number, which should be used both in AIE surveys of NCERT and in the annual data collection programme of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) from schools.
Data on new categories of schools and teachers such as different type of alternative schools or schools under the Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) and teachers categorised as para-teachers (known as shikshakarmi, guruji, shikshamitra, etc.) should be collected annually and information on them should be provided separately in statistical reports.
The data on income and expenditure of institutions managed by the Government or local bodies should be collected annually from the offices that maintain the record of disbursement of grants and payment of teacher salaries.
Certain periodical studies should be conducted by institutions such as NCERT, National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), Institute of Applied Manpower Research (IAMR) and University Grants Commission (UGC) on the expenditure incurred by educational institutions by level and type of educational programme to estimate the unit cost for each level and type of education.
Collection of data on beneficiaries, cost and effectiveness of various incentive schemes should be collected in All India Educational Surveys (AIES) and through special studies.
While data on educational facilities becomes available through All India Educational Surveys, data on the present condition and extent of such facilities should also be collected periodically at least on a sample basis.
The data on economic aspects such as finances of educational institutions and some other aspects such as average attendance of enrolled students, should be collected on a regular basis in one or more of the following ways, through:
All India Educational Surveys conducted by NCERT once in five years
Sample surveys of institutions to be conducted by NCERT or the proposed Educational Statistics Bureau of MHRD on a regular basis once in 3 years or through ad hoc sample surveys, if necessary, at the National or State level.
Data on literacy, educational level of population, expenditure on education incurred by parents, socio-economic background of students, children attending or not attending school, dropouts, etc. should be collected, apart from the Population Census, through household surveys conducted by NSSO. As these items are normally covered under ‘social consumption’ it is suggested that the rounds of NSS that cover social consumption should be conducted regularly every five years.
The unrecognised schools and institutions should be covered in sample surveys to be conducted by MHRD and in AIE surveys of NCERT. Effort should be made to provide data at least on the number of such institutions, enrolment and number of teachers. To begin with, the local authorities (e.g. Block Education Officers at the block level) should enumerate all private unrecognised schools and keep a record of the same and update them every year.
The secondary and post-secondary level unrecognised institutions (such as those offering courses in computer applications, management, etc) should be covered through periodical sample surveys. To begin with, a comprehensive survey should be undertaken to enumerate them and a system of updating their statistics annually should be evolved. Eventually, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) should be entrusted with the task of collecting and maintaining their statistics.
Data Collection in Higher and Technical Education (Para 9.5.21)
University Grants Commission (UGC) should shoulder the main responsibility of collecting and publishing data pertaining all types of institutions of higher education. It should use its regional centres and universities for collection and transmission of data of colleges and other institutions under their jurisdiction instead of collecting data from colleges directly. Universities should collect and compile data from their affiliated colleges and should use computers and Internet/e-mail for processing and transmission of data to UGC for which they should have adequate statistical and computer personnel. UGC should reduce the number of data collection forms and also simplify the existing forms. UGC should also organise quinquennial surveys of Higher Education Institutions on the pattern of All India Educational Surveys of school education conducted by NCERT.
Since MHRD requires some basic statistics on technical and higher education for dissemination through its annual statistical publications, it should continue to collect the same from the States to avoid delay. However, a common institutional form should be devised for collection of basic data (on enrolment, graduates, facilities, teachers, etc.) and the data on this form with the same date of reference should be sent to the concerned Government Department in the State and also to the affiliating university or UGC’s regional centre for compilation and transmission to UGC. This should help in eliminating the difference if any, between the two sets of statistics, one produced by MHRD and the other by UGC at the national level. UGC should use other forms for collecting data on additional items that may be needed for other purposes.
AICTE should have a full-fledged Statistical Unit to collect and compile data on enrolment, intake, teaching staff, graduates, educational facilities, finances, etc. from all types of technical and vocational education institutions, through its regional offices. So far as the minimum data needs of the State Governments and MHRD are concerned, a procedure similar to that suggested above for institutions of higher education should be adopted to reduce the time lag in compilation of Educational Statistics at the National level by MHRD.
The above arrangement of data collection should also apply in respect of institutions offering courses in Ayurvedic, Siddha, Unani, and Homeopathic systems of medicine, for which the Department of ISM&H is responsible.
The limited data on education in Medical and Dental colleges, presently collected by Medical Council of India (MCI) and Dental Council of India (DCI) is not sufficient and additional items of information on enrolment, teaching staff, etc. should also be collected by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) through MCI and DCI or directly from the institutions.
The Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) should collect and publish the data on Agricultural Education on an annual basis and develop the necessary infrastructure for the purpose.
The NCTE should expand its data collection programme to include data on enrolment, teachers, finance, etc. Suitable formats should be developed by it in consultation with MHRD and UGC. Also National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) should bring out a statistical publication on teacher education institutions annually.
All the above agencies should strengthen or establish Statistical Units to take up the responsibilities of collection and compilation of data on various programmes of technical and higher education. They should also supply data to the MHRD regularly as required by it and bring out their own statistical publications annually without much time lag.
A Coordination Committee on Technical and Higher Education comprising representatives of MHRD, UGC, AICTE, CBHI, DARE, NCTE, etc. should be set up under the aegis of MHRD to devise measures for avoiding duplication of data collection on similar items by different agencies and devising measures to improve the quality and coverage of statistics on all types of technical and higher education.
Weak Infrastructure at Centre, State and District Levels (Para 9.5.27)
In order to ensure that statistical activities get due attention, there should be a full-fledged Educational Statistics Bureau in the Ministry of Human Resource Development. It should be headed by a Statistical Adviser from Indian Statistical Service, in the rank of Joint Secretary to take care of all statistical activities of the two Departments namely, Department of Secondary and Higher Education and Department of Elementary Education and Literacy. The Educational Statistics Bureau should have two Units, each headed by a Statistical officer in the rank of Director/Joint Director to handle the work of these two Departments. The Statistical Adviser will advise the two Departments in all matters related to the collection of Educational Statistics, will coordinate with the National Statistical Office, organise sample surveys on education and liaise and coordinate with international agencies and agencies of the Central and State Governments responsible for generating and supplying educational statistics.
Apart from providing basic statistics on enrolment, number of teachers, etc. through periodical publications, the Bureau should bring out various indicators derived from the data and make them available to users. It should also undertake special studies based on time series data from time to time and also make educational projections on a regular basis.
It should be possible to bring about the above changes without creating new posts (except that of Statistical Adviser) by suitably upgrading the existing posts and by reallocation of work among the existing staff and with provision of suitable training for handling the new type of work.
At the State level, the Educational Statistics Unit should be preferably located in one of the Directorates instead of there being several small units for statistical work in every Directorate. A statistician in the rank of Joint Director should head this Unit. The unit should be provided adequate manpower and computer resources to handle data collection and processing of State level data.
The concerned Directorate should be the nodal agency in the State to coordinate all the work related to Educational Statistics with other Departments, which perform educational functions such as Technical Education and Education in Medicine, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, etc.
The State Educational Statistics Unit should also undertake sample surveys and ad hoc studies in the field of education on topics of interest to them. It should also be responsible for conducting training programmes for the staff engaged in statistical work at various levels.
The district level establishment should be well equipped to cater to data collection and processing needs for education upto the higher secondary level in the district and to undertake scrutiny and verification of forms received from the block level. It should however, be ensured that the main statistical work does not suffer because of the staff meant for educational statistics being used for other activities.
The Educational Statistical Bureau at the Centre and the Educational Statistics Units in the States and districts should be equipped with adequate computer hardware and software for data entry, scrutiny, verification and data analysis. Sufficient resources should be provided by both the Central and State Governments to implement computerisation uniformly for the educational statistical system. Some facilities and staff already provided in DPEP States and districts for EMIS should be upgraded for handling the statistics of all institutions up to secondary level and the same should be extended to non-DPEP States and districts also.
The Statistical Bureau at the Centre should network with the States and the districts for receiving data directly from the districts, as well as consolidated State level data from the State Departments of Education.
The staff handling statistical work at the Centre and States should be provided with adequate training in statistics and use of computers for statistical work. Their skills should also be upgraded through proper training. The proposed Bureau in the Ministry of Human Resource Development should organise refresher and other training programmes periodically for the staff to upgrade their knowledge and skills.
Gender Statistics (Para 9.6.13)
The Department of Women and Child Development and CSO have already issued guidelines for collecting all data with a male-female break-up, wherever applicable. In order to ensure that relevant Gender Statistics are collected as per the guidelines, necessary instructions for compliance should be issued again at the highest level. All the censuses, large-scale sample surveys and Administrative Statistics should have a provision for collecting data with sex break-up, where applicable.
As several ministries and organisations are involved in the development of Gender Statistics, a high-level Standing Advisory Committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development, with representation from all the concerned ministries including Central Statistical Organisation should be constituted for ensuring proper reporting of Gender Statistics.
The Department of Women and Child Development, which is the nodal Department for various developmental planning for women, does not have a Statistics Division. Therefore, a Statistics Division headed by a senior statistical officer at the level of Joint Secretary, should be created. For better co-ordination with other ministries and departments including the National Statistical Office, the post should be manned by an Indian Statistical Service officer.
Indicators of gender disparity such as equity index should be computed at State level for every State taking into account the data available on socio-economic variables. CSO should develop appropriate methodology for computing Human Development Index (HDI) and Gender Development Index (GDI) at State level. Studies should be conducted using gender related data to highlight existing gender disparities.
Development of Environment Statistics and Indicators (Para 9.7.6)
CSO should continue to coordinate and collate the relevant information on environment as is being done at present and bring out the Compendium on Environment Statistics on an annual basis. CSO should also provide necessary guidance to the States for development of Environment Statistics and indicators.
The database on Environment Statistics should be strengthened and it should be linked with the Environmental Information System (ENVIS) already functioning in the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
CSO in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forests and other agencies should finalise the list of Environmental indicators needed for the country and should take the steps to be taken for regular collection of relevant information.
Considering the emerging need for Environment Statistics, a Statistical Division in the Ministry of Environment and Forests should be established to cater to the requirements of environment and forest related data and analysis of the same. A Statistical Adviser at an appropriate level from Indian Statistical Service should head the Division.
Environment Statistics Cells should be created in the Directorate of Economics and Statistics in all the States and the same should be responsible for co-ordination and collation of information from other related agencies in the State.
Natural Resource Accounting (Para 9.7.10)
The development and implementation of satellite accounts on environment accounting, as suggested by the System of National Accounts, 1993, should be pursued systematically. To begin with, a framework for environmental accounting needs to be developed in India. The framework should be based on System of Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA) as this would avoid the drawback of non-compatibility with national accounts concepts and procedures.
Once the framework for environmental accounting is established, the aim should be to improve the data contents and analysis of particular sectors of the framework and develop suitable methodologies for systematic valuation of environmental resources in the country and for estimating the cost of pollution abatement and environmental degradation caused by various economic activities.
As Natural Resource Accounting requires the integration of data from different subject areas efforts should be made to involve experts from all relevant disciplines along with the experts from CSO. This office should play a more active and dominant role in the entire exercise.
The pilot project on Natural Resource Accounting in Goa initiated by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoS&PI) should be replicated in 2 or 3 major States for developing a suitable methodology before extending it at the all-India level for developing integrated environment and economic accounts.
Consumption Surveys and Levels of Living
Issues of Concern (Paras 9.8.21 to 9.8.28)
The results of the on-going Pilot Survey on Reference Periods launched by NSSO need be utilised to choose the appropriate reference period for collecting data on food, pan, tobacco and intoxicants in future NSS enquiries on consumer expenditure. Further work need to be done to choose the appropriate reference period for non-food items like durables, education, medical care, etc. Pilot studies may be made to collect panel data for understanding changes over time. Revisit to the same sample of households for data collection after the lapse of few years could also be explored.
Any change in the methodology of NSS household expenditure enquiries runs the risk of loss of comparability with the past, but the present situation may require changes. Keeping this in view, the NSS questionnaires for consumer expenditure should be shortened in such a way that it should not take more than 1-1½ hours of interview time, especially in urban areas.
In order to reduce the non-sampling errors in canvassing a lengthy schedule, the NSS should make efforts to reduce the length of the of consumer expenditure schedule by analysing the past data. Further, in doing so, the possibility of dividing the full sample of households into two matched half-samples and the use of one schedule with detailed food items but abridged non-food items in one half-sample, and of another schedule with abridged food items but detailed non-food items in the other half-sample should also be explored.
The State sample data should be processed regularly within a reasonable time after completion of fieldwork and attempts should be made to obtain and utilise pooled estimates by combining Central and State samples. Efforts need also be made to generate separate estimates for the different NSS regions for all the rounds, especially the quinquennial rounds.
Techniques of small area estimation may be adopted to extract maximum amount of information from the collected data, keeping the goal of district level estimates in view.
For monitoring of changes in the levels of living, dissemination of consumption data through regular NSS Reports may be done as expeditiously as possible. These Reports may include estimates of per capita physical consumption of a few items besides cereals, like pulses and products, liquid milk, sugar and gur, etc.
Poverty measurement and poverty analysis has come to occupy a central place in policy-making in the country. NSSO should provide relevant information expeditiously to Government agencies like the Planning Commission and also to interested researchers for undertaking poverty-related studies. Further, the NSSO may take up special tabulations/exercises periodically to facilitate studies like calculations of calorie intake by households in different segments of the population, especially by those below the poverty line.
To facilitate the building of models explaining the poverty status of individual households, the NSS questionnaire should also record relevant characteristics of sample villages and blocks. In the past, such characteristics were not always recorded or made available.