The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) conducts nationwide sample surveys relating to various socio-economic topics to collect data for planning and policy formulation. The Socio-Economic (SE) Surveys are in the form of Rounds, each Round being normally of one-year duration and occasionally for a period of six months. The first Round of NSS was conducted during 1950-51. The subject coverage of SE inquiries for different Rounds is decided on the basis of a 10 year cycle. In this cycle, 1 year is devoted to Land and Livestock Holdings, Debt and Investment; 1 year to Social Consumption (education, health care, etc.), 2 years to quinquennial surveys on household consumer expenditure, employment & un-employment situation and 4 years to non-agricultural enterprises, namely, manufacturing, trade and services in un-organized sector. The remaining 2 years are for open Rounds in which subjects of current/special interest on the demand of Central Ministries, State Governments and research organizations are covered.
The responsibility of executing the field work for SE surveys rests with the Field Operations Division (FOD) of NSSO for central samples and with respective State Governments/Union Territories except Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Chandigarh and Lakshadweep for state samples. Before taking up data collection work, multi-stage training programmes are conducted. All-India Training of Trainers (AITOT) is organized to discuss the sampling design, schedules of enquiry and procedures for data collection. The officers who are trained at All-India Training in turn train the field functionaries in Regional Training Camps (RTCs) held at all the Regional Offices of the FOD.
Well qualified and trained field officers/investigators of NSSO and the State Governments collect information through interview method, using the uniform methodology and schedules that are specially designed for the survey. Various instruments, for example, inspection, scrutiny, super-scrutiny of filled-in schedules are used to monitor the fieldwork and to ensure the quality of data collected in the field. Collected data is sent for processing to Data Processing Division. Various publicity measures through print advertisement and visual/digital media are taken to increase the awareness about these surveys among the public/respondents.