Kolkata: Emphasising on the need for authenticity in the collection of statistics, President Pranab Mukherjee said that good data was important as its analysis plays a key role in shaping national policies.
“The efficacy of our policies, especially in the social sector, hinges on the quality of data collected by different government agencies. Good policies call for good data standards,” he said.
“Great emphasis must, therefore, be laid on the authenticity of the information gathered so as to form the basis of policy intervention,” Mukherjee told the 48th Convocation of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) here.
The President said that the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008, seeks to facilitate the collection of data on several socio-economic and other parameters.
It is the collective responsibility of the citizens and the seekers of information under this Act to ensure that correct and adequate statistics are furnished, he said.
The President advised exercise of due caution in analysing large data and drawing inferences.
“Capturing unstructured data and converting them into a structured format are technically challenging problems. They have to pursued in an enlightened manner.
“Drawing inferences call for adequate scrutiny of the theory requiring combined knowledge of the statistician and the subject expert,” he said.
“Enhanced capability of analysing large data had a positive act in our ability to formulate effective public policies as well improving transparency to ensure last mile connectivity,” he said.
Mukherjee said that improved ability to analyse data had led to an improvement in weather forecasting systems.
He said data mining and statistical techniques had been used to initiate counter terrorism programes.
The President expressed happiness that the Institute was involved in developing technologies in areas of cryptology and information security which have a far reaching impact on national security policies.
He said that the country had realised a lot of what its people had aspired for at the time of Independence and is on way to attaining global leadership.
“As a happy coincidence, the calendar of 2014 exactlymatches that of 1947 – the year we started our tryst with destiny. There were a lot of hopes then and we have been successful to a great extent in realising them.
“We are today in the throes of attaining global leadership,” he said.
Mukherjee said that making India assume global leadership was possible only through the singular contribution of all its citizens.
He said for this it had to be ensured that every citizen benefits from the benefits of progress and prosperity.
Recalling his own association with the Institute, Mukherjee said that visiting it again was like a homecoming for him as he had been the chairman of the council for eight years.
He said that P C Mahalanobis, who had laid the foundation of the Institute, had a wonderful vision about the potential of statistics.
Defence Minister A K Antony, who is the current chairman of the Institute, said that the evolution of ISI had opened new horizons in the discipline of statistics.
He said Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had himself piloted a Bill to declare it an institute of national importance.
Union Minister for Statistics and Programe Implementation Srikant Jena said that the Institute played a pivotal role in nation building.
He also said that the Institute is in the process of setting up new centres including a centre for cryptology in Kolkata and another in Bhubaneswar.