National Statistics Day: All you need to know

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| Published: Wednesday, June 29, 2022, 16:49 [IST]

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New Delhi, Jun 29: Statistics might be just another discipline of study, but its importance in the economy, communication, research, etc., is irreplaceable. The Government of India designated June 29 to be celebrated as National Statistics Day to recognise the importance of statistics in the everyday lives of people and honour the contributions of Professor (late) Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis towards economic planning and statistical development in the post-independence period of India.

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When India became independent in 1947, the Soviet Union inspired the country to organise the economy with consecutive five-year plans. The only problem was that there was no data. Under Jawaharlal Nehru's government, the National Sample Survey was established in 1950. It was one of the most comprehensive sampling enquiries any country had ever carried out. That was when Professor (late) Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, an Indian scientist and statistician, stepped in.

Father of Modern Statistics

Professor Mahalanobis was well-known for his introduction to the Mahalanobis distance, which gives the measure of the distance between a point P and a distribution D, and pioneering studies in anthropometry. He also had established the Indian Institute of Statistics before it became recognised as an institute in the 1950s. When he took up his role in the National Sample Survey, he introduced the world to the pilot survey concept and the efficacy of sampling methods. His contributions were not limited to India because several countries integrated Mahalanobis' concepts into their own surveys and economy. Today, he is known as the "Father of Indian Statistics."

In 2005, British economist and Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton and co-author Valerie Kozel wrote, "where Mahalanobis and India led, the rest of the world has followed, so that today, most countries have a recent household income or expenditure survey. Most countries can only envy India in its statistical capacity."

To honour Professor Mahalanobis and his contributions, June 29, his birth anniversary, was declared National Statistics Day in 2007.

Celebrations for 2022

National Statistics Day, 2022 aims to create public awareness about how significant statistics are in our daily lives for small to large-scale planning and development and the shaping and framing of government policies. The theme for the celebrations is 'Data for Sustainable Development.'

The celebrations of National Statistics day are organised by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI). Various seminars, competitions, discussions, programs, debates, etc., are organised to engage the population, especially the youth, and popularise the discipline of statistics and its role in national development. Ministers, statisticians, academics, etc., attend the main event organised by MOSPI.

Story first published: Wednesday, June 29, 2022, 16:49 [IST]

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