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Manmohan Singh stresses transparency in statistics


New Delhi : Transparency and credibility of its statistical system is the hallmark of a nation's reputation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Friday, as he stressed on the role of statistics for a growing knowledge economy like India.

"Official statistics, of course, is only one part of the wide variety of data that is required by a modern dynamic economy," the prime minister told an event to mark the Statistics Day here.

"Statistics affects and influences all major decisions we take, big or small, in public life and often in ways we may not even realise," he said while paying glowing tributes to late economist P.C. Mahalonobis, whose birth anniversary is observed as the Statistics Day.

"As we progress in our path of development towards becoming a knowledge economy, and integrate with the international economic order, the role of statistics will become progressively more important," the prime minister stressed.

"In this situation, the hallmark of a nation's reputation will be credibility and transparency of its statistical system and the statistical data emulating from that system."

Referring to the National Statistical Commission set up by the government last year, Manmohan Singh said two aspects of its mandate were of particular importance.

"The first is to evolve and lay down national quality standards in different areas of statistics. And the second is to exercise statistical coordination between ministries, departments and state governments," he said.

Referring to Mahalonobis, the prime minister said the late economist also made great contributions in areas like anthropology, educational testing, statistical quality, agriculture, flood control, meteorology and institution building.

"This is a tribute to his enduring, pioneering and multifaceted contributions to the discipline of statistics. He was a world leader in the discipline."

It was thanks to Mahalonobis that India today can boast of the Indian School of Statistics, the prime minister said.