ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

P C MohananSubscribe to P C Mohanan

Disastrous Decade for Data

In recent years, the Indian official data has been challenged for many reasons, most of them arising out of the perception that the government is reluctant to release unfavourable data. These doubts have been exacerbated by the controversy posed by the debate around Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Population Register, and National Register of Citizens and the weakening of established institutions like the National Statistical Commission. The COVID-19 pandemic has further upset the data collection so that the first phase of the decennial population census and the proposed NPR exercise now stand postponed. Questions on credibility of official data and the pandemic-induced problems have come at a time when technology offers solutions to data collection, processing and dissemination. The initiatives launched by the government to improve the statistical system utilise these possibilities.

Citizenship (Amendment) Act

The recently enacted Citizenship (Amendment) Act has generated a political churn in the country. Tagging the updating of the National Population Register, a base document to identify “citizens,” to the forthcoming 2021 population and housing census has raised strong objections from several corners, including some state governments, necessitating the home minister to make a statement in Parliament on 14 March 2020. Linking the census and theNPR raises many questions—technical and operational. It is important to go beyond politics to address these concerns.
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