Govt plans to merge CSO, NSSO


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CSO, NSSO

Mains level : Merger of the two and its impact

  • To streamline and strengthen the statistical system, the government has decided to merge the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) and the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) to form a National Statistical Office (NSO).
  • While the NSSO comes out with various sample surveys such as on consumption expenditure, employment and unemployment, the CSO releases various data such as GDP and IIP.

Merging NSSO and CSO into NSO

  • The move is a follow-up of a decision taken in 2005 by the UPA government’s based on recommendations of the report of the National Statistical Commission, headed by former RBI governor C Rangarajan.
  • Both the wings are currently part of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

Rangarajan committee recommendations

  • The Rangarajan committee had recommended setting up of the NSC, headed by a person with a Minister of State-level designation, to serve as a nodal and empowered body for all core statistical activities of the country.
  • The NSC was constituted on July 12, 2006 with a mandate to evolve policies, priorities and standards in statistical matters.
  • According to the Commission, the new NSO was envisaged as an agency to implement and maintain statistical standards and coordinate statistical activities of Central and State agencies as laid down by the NCS.
  • The NSO’s other roles included collection of core statistics, carrying out methodological research and studies, maintaining a warehouse of core statistics, as per the Commission report.

Benefits of the merger

  • This is a measure to avoid duplication of work and leverage the strength of the statistical system.
  • There is no dilution of independence and in fact strengthens the system.
  • This will help in meeting the requirement of the statistical system as a lack of control on these two bodies was one challenge presently.

National Statistical Office (NSO)

  • The Statistical Wing, comprising the NSO with constituents as the CSO and the NSSO, to be an integral part of the main ministry.
  • The NSO would be headed by Secretary Statistics and Programme Implementation, with various divisions reporting to the Secretary through Director Generals (DGs).
  • Presently the CSO is headed by a DG brings out macro economic data like economic (GDP) growth data, industrial production and inflation.
  • While the NSSO conducts large-scale surveys and brings out reports on health, education, household expenditure and other social and economic indicators.

Data Quality Assurance Division

  • A Data Quality Assurance Division has also been set up, replacing the Data Processing Division, which will have the responsibility to bring about improvements in survey and administrative databases.
  • This division will be strengthened through “re-skilling and deployment of existing personnel”.

In recent controversy!

  • India’s official statistics came under a cloud after several experts raised questions on credibility of the new GDP series.
  • The government’s move to withhold the first periodic labour force survey, which showed unemployment rate at a 45-year high, put a further dent.

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