India’s Statistical performance on the Global stage

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

The World Bank’s compilation of Statistical Performance Indicators (SPI) ranks India 67 among 174 countries in 2019.

More about the news

  • Recently, questions have been raised about the credibility of India’s official statistics and the competence of statisticians. Further, statistical methods used for generating data are facing scrutiny.
  • Some claim that administrative data may be of higher quality compared to data from surveys and censuses.

About Statistical Performance Indicators (SPI)

  • SPI assesses five dimensions: Data use, Data services, Data products, Data sources, and Data infrastructure.
  • India’s 2019 SPI score: 70.4, with lower scores in ‘Data use’ and ‘Data products’.
  • ‘Data use’ is influenced by how different sectors utilize statistics, and India performs well in some areas but loses points in poverty estimation.
  • ‘Data Products’ are crucial for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and India is taking steps to improve data collection for SDGs.
  • ‘Data infrastructure’ scores moderately due to issues in ‘Standards and methods’ and poor performance in ‘Finance’.
  • India’s ‘Finance’ category receives a low score due to insufficient funding.
  • ‘Data Services’ score well but have room for improvement in online accessibility and metadata availability.
  • India performs well in ‘Data sources,’ particularly in censuses and surveys.
  • India excels in adopting certain standards but falls short in adopting others, affecting its overall score.
  • Administrative data lags due to low birth registration under the Civil Registration System (CRS).

 SPI Score and Relevance

  • SPI scores highlight India’s strengths in censuses and surveys compared to administrative data.
  • Improvement in key pillars could significantly boost India’s ranking.
  • Proactive engagement with the World Bank is needed to strengthen the SPI.

 Specific Recommendations

  • Consider using “Vital Statistics of India” for birth and death registration estimates.
  • Work on improving ‘Data products,’ ‘Data use,’ and ‘Data infrastructure’ to enhance India’s ranking.
  • Enhance online accessibility, metadata availability, and open terms for data usage in ‘Data Services.’

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