New Delhi: Lamenting that industrial and agriculture data had become unreliable over a period of time, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today strongly favoured corrective action both at the national as well as state level.
“With the weakening of the land revenue system, the estimates of land use, which are central to any estimate of agricultural production, have become increasingly unreliable,” he said, inaugurating the National Conference of state ministers in-charge of statistics, here.
He said with the abolition of the industrial licensing in the early 90s and non-requirement of compulsory data filing, the information flow with regard to industries too has “weakened considerably”.
Singh also cited the critical observations of National Statistical Commission, which expressed concern over the “deteriorating” quality of data collection.
“Over the years, the administrative statistical system has been deteriorating and has now almost collapsed in certain sectors,” Singh quoted the Commission as having observed.
In his address, Chairman of the Commission and the PM’s Economic Advisory Council Suresh Tendulkar said: “The virtual neglect and the low priority accorded to recording, storage, retrieval... have resulted in official data becoming suspect in terms of reliability and completeness”.
Singh said it was time for corrective action both at the national and state level, especially with regard to statistics for agriculture, labour, industry and commerce, where the Commission has noted deterioration “at the very first stage of primary data collection.”
He also directed the Planning Commission, Finance Ministry and others to set up an organ for independent evaluation of flagship programmes on education, health and rural employment.