As the effectiveness of policy judgments depend on the quality of data, it is therefore important that public institutions have access to the best social statistics and statistical analysis, Vice President Hamid Ansari said here on Friday.
Ansari said that the gaps in official data and analysis need to be identified and ways should be found on how to bridge these gaps.
He was delivering the inaugural address at an international seminar on social statistics organised by the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), Patna.
Citing the example of the period immediately after Independence, Ansari said that access to "good statistics was critical to the manner in which we addressed our developmental challenges, confronting limited resources on the one hand and the burgeoning needs of our teeming millions on the other".
"The relevance and effectiveness of policy judgments, therefore, depended on the quality of data and the efficacy of analysis and interpretation.
It was important, therefore, that public institutions had access to the best social statistics and statistical analysis, " he observed.
Ansari said that although India has a separate ministry looking after statistics, and a vast array of central and state government departments engaged in the task of collecting and analysing data, concerns have been raised about the quality of data being generated.
"All is not well in the Indian social statistics sector.
Concerns have been raised about the quality of data being generated as also about the duplication of efforts to collect statistics across various government departments, inaccessibility of national data archives and the infringement of privacy by government's data collection machinery, " he said.
The vice president added that "some of the criticism of Indian public statistics", especially when it comes to measurement of cross - cutting social issues such as gender disparity, inequality, poverty and growth "seems valid".
He said that given the fast pace of economic changes in the face of deregulation, liberalisation and competition, it is important that various indices that reveal the underlying mechanism of our society and economy are further refined and updated in order to provide relevant and timely information to the policymakers.
"False data or its wrong interpretation can result in market volatility, which can have a cascading effect on the economy.
We, therefore, have to focus on maintaining certain data standards and improving the quality of our training and statistic education, " Ansari said.
Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar were also present on the occasion.