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New statistical body in offing as government draws up plan to merge NSSO, CSO

The Financial Express logo The Financial Express 26-05-2019 FE Online

The outgoing NDA government, in the order dated May 23, has cleared the merger of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and Central Statistics Office (CSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) to create an all-encompassing National Statistical Office (NSO) that would be headed by Secretary (Statistics and Programme Implementation), The Indian Express reported.

a person using a computer: The 2005 resolution had notified initiation of the setting up of the NSC along with proposing the single entity, National Statistical Organisation. © Provided by IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd The 2005 resolution had notified initiation of the setting up of the NSC along with proposing the single entity, National Statistical Organisation.

However, the order doesn't talk about the National Statistical Commission (NSC) that has been the supervising body for the entire statistical related work in India. Moreover, there is no mention of the Secretary (Statistics and Programme Implementation) to be equivalent of the Chief Statistician of India unlike in the previous resolution notified by MoSPI on June 1, 2005. 

The 2005 resolution had notified initiation of the setting up of the NSC along with proposing the single entity, National Statistical Organisation, as the executive wing of the government for statistics that would act according to the policies and priorities as laid down by the NSC."

It had also suggested CSO and NSSO as two wings with NSO, while Thursday's order said that the "statistics wing, comprising the NSO, with constituents as CSO and NSSO, to be an integral part of the main Ministry, with CSO and NSO to be merged into NSO."

The resolution had also stated that the NSO would be "headed by an officer of the rank of Secretary to the Government of India, who will be designated as the Chief Statistician of India and he will also function as the Secretary of the (National Statistical) Commission." However, the recent order has said that the NSO will be headed by Secretary (S&PI), with various divisions reporting to Secretary through the Director Generals (DGs).

"The character of NSSO will change by merging it with CSO and will bring it out of NSC?s control. Earlier, NSSO was an attached office of MoSPI, which gave it a legally distinct identity from the ministry," Sen told The Indian Express. According to Sen, this restructuring is perhaps a reaction to the resignations tendered by the member and acting Chairman of the NSC earlier this year.

The MoSPI said that the restructuring order for the Indian official statistics system has come "in order to streamline and strengthen the present nodal functions" of the ministry and "to bring in more synergy by integrating its administrative functions within the ministry."

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