POLICY WATCH- NATIONAL STATISTICAL COMMISSION BILL
The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has sought comments and suggestions on the Draft National Statistical Commission Bill 2019 to make data collection more transparent and reliable. The present draft NSC Bill proposes to establish a National Statistical Commission as the nodal and autonomous body for core statistical activities for the country, to evolve, monitor and enforce priorities and standards and to ensure coordination.
Draft National Statistical Commission Bill, 2019:
The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation published the Draft National Statistical Commission Bill, 2019 for public comments. The draft Bill seeks to constitute a National Statistical Commission (NSC) as the nodal regulatory body for all principal statistical activities of the country. Key features include:
Constitution of National Statistical Commission: The draft Bill sets up the National Statistical Commission (NSC). The NSC will consist of nine members. These include: (i) the Chairperson, (ii) five full time members, (iii) the Deputy Governor, RBI, (iv) the Chief Statistician of India, and (v) the Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance. The Chairperson and the five full time members of the NSC will be appointed by the centre. These appointments will be based on the recommendations of a Search Committee constituted by the central government.
Functions of the National Statistical Commission: The NSC will advise central and state governments, courts and tribunals on matters relating to government statistics. These include evolving national policies, legislative measures, and laying standards for statistical concepts and methodologies. It will maintain government statistics data for public distribution.
Statistical audit: The draft Bill establishes the National Statistical Audit and Assessment Organization within the NSC. This division will conduct periodic statistical audit of any statistical survey being conducted by a government agency. It will be headed by the Chief Statistical Auditor, appointed by the central government.
National Statistical Fund: The draft Bill constitutes the National Statistical Fund. This fund shall include resources received by the NSC through government grants, fees and charges, and any other sources decided by the central government. The fund can be used to pay salaries, allowances and other remuneration to the members, among others.
Inquiries, offences and penalties: The NSC has the power to warn, caution or censure a government agency if: (i) it does not comply with the standards of statistical ethics, or (ii) any person engaged in government statistics commits professional misconduct, makes a false or misleading statement or material omission in any information furnished to the NSC.