IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 30th May 2019
TOPIC: General studies 3
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Merger of NSSO with CSO: Integrity of data
The government has recently decided to merge the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) into and under the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
- The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) headed by a Director General is responsible for conduct of large-scale sample surveys in diverse fields on All India basis.
- Primarily data are collected through nation-wide household surveys on various socio-economic subjects, Annual Survey of Industries (ASI), etc. Besides these surveys, NSSO collects data on rural and urban prices and plays a significant role in the improvement of crop statistics through supervision of the area enumeration and crop estimation surveys of the State agencies.
- Budget allocations and personnel of the NSSO have always been under the Department of Statistics.
The present system:
- Every year various departments of government send a list of subjects that they would like to be investigated by the NSSO.
The requests are sent to the National Statistical Commission (NSC).
- The proposals are discussed at length keeping in view the budget allocations, availability of trained field staff and supervisors.
- The tasks of sampling design, the scope and content of information to be collected, design of schedules and protocols of field work are left to be decided by special working groups. These groups are chaired by experts from academia, and senior officials of the CSO and the NSSO, State government representatives as well as select non-official experts.
- Once the field work is over, the groups decide the detailed tabulation programme, and the tables to be prepared for publication. The tabulated results are discussed in detail by the NSC and are published after its approval.
Importance of NSSO data and reports:
The government decided some years back to put all tabulations and the primary data on open access, especially to academic and other interested users.
- This stimulated and facilitated the use of these data for intensive analyses by numerous researchers.
- They have been used extensively for monitoring of trends and critical assessment of several important aspects of the economy and society, such as poverty and inequality, consumption patterns, employment, household savings and investment, and health-seeking behaviour.
- They have spawned intense as well as creative controversies over survey methodology, quality of data, and interpretation of structure and trends. These have played an important role in shaping policy and in improving the surveys.
- The NSSO surveys command wide respect among academics, State governments and NGOs as the most reliable and comparable basis for discussions in the public, policy and even political arenas. This is based on their well-earned reputation for professionalism, independence and integrity. The existing institutional arrangement in which the NSC, as a professional body independent of government, has not only functioned smoothly but also commands confidence and respect both within the country and abroad must be maintained.
- Widespread apprehensions that the proposed absorption of NSSO into the CSO could compromise the surveys by subjecting their review and publication to government approval must therefore be addressed.
Scope for improvement:
It is widely recognised that there is scope for improvement in the functioning of the NSSO and the way data are collected. Following problems are well known:
- The NSSO doesn’t have adequate budgetary allocations.
- There is an acute shortage of trained field staff.
- The scale of surveys is un-manageably large mainly because the users demand a degree of detail in content and regional disaggregation of estimates.
The solutions call for action by the institutions responsible for gathering data by investing in continuing research on improving sampling design, field survey methods and validation of data. Correcting these deficiencies is entirely in the domain of government.
Increasing the role of CSO officials in running the NSSO will not solve the above mentioned problems, but they can help by providing funds for specialised research on survey design and methodology. The necessity and importance of such research calls for far greater attention and resources than they receive at present.
Connecting the dots:
- In light of recent merger of NSSO with CSO, explain the importance of maintaining the integrity of NSSO and hence of data.
TOPIC: General studies 2
- India and the World
- International Relations
- Policies of developed and developing countries and their impact on India’s interests
- Indian Economy and related issues
India-Japan Strengthening relationships
Japan and India are already blessed with warm friendship and solid trust. With the continuation of the Modi administration, Japan and India have been given a valuable chance to elevate the relationship to “greater heights”, as Prime Minister Modi assured Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
- Japan and India has teamed up for India’s economic and social development through combination of Japan’s official development assistance (ODA) and private sector engagement.
Japan has been the largest supporter of India in terms of ODA. Big infrastructure projects such as Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail as well as metros in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru are few examples.
- Bettering the lives of Indian people, including at the grass roots level:
Under Swachh Bharat Mission, Japan is assisting efforts to clean the Ganga, to construct sewage treatment plants, and to ensure better sanitation through reliable and affordable toilets.
Japan is also determined to support projects related to rural development, sustainable forest conservation and disaster risk reduction.
- A vibrant private sector is an indispensable ingredient to collaboration. Japan is already one of the largest investors in India and more Japanese companies are expected to invest and operate.
The Indian government needs to continue its economic reform efforts to make the Indian market more investment and business friendly. The window of business collaboration is wide open along with manufacturing for digital, IT, AI and telecommunications. India’s incredible IT talents complement Japan’s technological vigour.
- The partnership between Japan and India carries increasing weight for the peace and prosperity of a wider region. The Special Strategic and Global Partnership is special as it is supported by shared values such as democracy, freedom, and the rule of law.
Working with other like-minded countries, including the US, ASEAN members and Australia, Japan and India for this direction is important.
- Japan and India are collaborating on development projects in countries, in regions as diverse as South Asia and Africa, to translate this vision into a reality. Quality infrastructure holds the key to enhancing connectivity in the region, providing long-term and sustainable benefits.
The most recent effort includes a joint collaboration with Sri Lanka to develop the Colombo South Port and make it a shipping hub of the Indian Ocean. Japan’s commitment to the development of and better connectivity in India’s Northeast is a part of joint efforts for regional stability and prosperity.
- Japan and India can be true partners on the global stage, closely collaborating in such areas as the SDGs, United Nations reform, including Security Council reform, global warming mitigation and free and open multilateral trading systems.
A meaningful conclusion of the RCEP negotiations by the end of this year will be helpful.
India could become the most populous country in the world by the end of the new government’s tenure, with its economy on a steady ascent. Japanese Prime Minister Abe stresses that “A strong India is in Japan’s interest, and a strong Japan is in India’s interest”. In a world where uncertainties and unpredictability are pervasive, a firm Japan-India relationship exemplifies a strong force that promises stability.
Connecting the dots:
- A strong India is in Japan’s interest, and a strong Japan is in India’s interest. Critically analyse.
Breaking out of the middle-growth orbit
An election of trust
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