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National panel on statistics mooted

December 10, 2004 10:12 IST

The ministry of statistics and programme implementation has floated a Cabinet note for setting up of a National Commission on Statistics. The note, however, said that the NCS would be an advisory body, rather than a statutory one as proposed earlier.

The note has proposed setting up the NCS through a government order and giving it the mandate of drawing up the National Statistical Commission Bill.

The proposal indicated a significant dilution of the powers proposed to be vested with the NCS and is likely to be opposed by the Planning Commission.

C Rangarajan, chairman of the 12-member NSC, set up in 2000 to recommend ways to revamp the statistical system in the country, had recently met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to express displeasure on the delay in setting up of the commission, sources said.

The ministerial report, presented to the government in September, 2001, had recommended the formation of a permanent and statutory apex body, the NCS, consisting of a chairman and four expert members.

The body was to be set up within six months.

The NCS, which would be accountable to Parliament and have a policy-making, standard-setting and coordinating role for the statistical system, would also frame legislation relating to collection of statistics.

The previous NDA government had introduced the NSC Bill, 2003, in Parliament to monitor the nationwide strategies on core statistics and to function as apex authority on statistical coordination. The Bill was referred to a Standing Committee but lapsed when Parliament was dissolved.
Mamata Singh in New Delhi