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Statistics commission has become a tool in the political 'game', says former chief statistician Pronab Sen

Updated : March 25, 2019 09:14 PM IST

PC Mohanan, who resigned as the acting chairman of the National Statistical Commission (NSC), on Monday warned against using statistical data as a political tool.

In January, Mohanan, along with one other NSC member had quit in protest against the centre's decision to withhold an important jobs report.

Pronab Sen, former chief statistician of India, shared his views and outlook.

“One needs to understand the context a little bit. It is unfortunate but true that until quite recently, statistics was never an element in any government’s projection of itself. Earlier governments used official statistics essentially for decision-making purposes and there was, therefore, a requirement from within the government to have accurate statistics," Sen said.

"Now statistics has become a part of the larger political campaigning process," he said. "The statistical system has become a victim of the growing importance of statistics in the Indian economy where it has gone well beyond the government."

In terms of making NSC a statutory body with its own secretariat, Sen said, “That was the recommendation of the Rangarajan commission. The real question is what should be the nature of that statutory body. There was a proposal to have this body being outside of the government as a registered society."
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