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

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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.

Recent Shenanigans in Indian Statistics

The instances of data suppression and leaks, in recent times, inadvertently reaffirm the integrity and professionalism of the official statisticians, but categorically indicate towards ministerial obtrusion in data dissemination.

Is Periodic Labour Force Survey, 2017–18 Comparable with Employment–Unemployment Survey, 2011–12?

Towards improving the existing system of collecting data on socio-economic parameters, the National Sample Survey Office introduced the Periodic Labour Force Survey in 2017–18 by replacing its previous quinquennial rounds on the employment–unemployment situation. There has been a significant restructuring of the previously existing questionnaire, survey methodology, and inquiry schedule. The advantages of the new PLFS data are listed, and inputs for further improvements are provided.

From Jobless to Job-loss Growth

The unprecedented decline in the absolute number of workers in the Indian economy in recent times has been a subject of debate and a matter of public concern. A closer look at the data for the period 2011–12 and 2017–18 shows that it is the net result of a dynamic process of job creation and destruction. Those who have lost jobs are all with low education, that is, less than secondary level of education. From a gender perspective, rural women workers are the net losers. From a social point of view, the net losers belong to two groups: Muslims and Hindu Other Backward Classes. These are clear signs of rural India in distress with strong gender and social dimensions.

Vision without Basis

The Draft National Education Policy, 2019 strives to provide a vision, albeit not presenting any statistical basis or taking into account the sociopolitical and historical contexts, the regional or statewise variations and disparities, financial responsibilities, and the gains made by the earlier initiatives.

Women’s Unpaid Work

Mainstreaming Unpaid Work: Time Use Data in Developing Policies edited by Indira Hirway, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2017; pp 430, ₹ 1,195.

Where Is the Data to Study the Internet in India?

Social science researchers who want to study the internet in India using data mining and analytic techniques are challenged by constraints in access, and the availability of big data. Even when such data is available, it is often behind a paywall or organised in a manner that makes it difficult to interpret.

Cyberwarfare Will Threaten Two Things We Hold Dear—Freedom and the Internet

The increasing number of cyberattacks around the world is alarming and India ranks 33rd in the world when it comes to receiving web-borne threats. The article argues for a global framework to tackle cybercrime, with a mix of formal and informal agreements between states.

India's Data Protection Framework Will Need to Treat Privacy as a Social and Not Just an Individual Good

The idea that technological innovations may compete with privacy of individuals assumes that there is social and/or economic good in allowing unrestricted access to data. However, it must be remembered that data is potentially a toxic asset, if it is not collected, processed, secured and shared in the appropriate way.

Politics of Census in Pakistan

Prior to the long-delayed 2017 census, socio-economic planning in Pakistan had used obsolete data, widening the gulf between the rich and the poor. The new census has not drastically improved the situation either. The collected data remain incomplete, reflecting the infrastructural weaknesses of the underlying institutions. Many provinces have voiced their concerns about the recent census, but these have not been addressed. Without political resolve to compile and make available more exhaustive information, meaningful planning to address societal inequities in Pakistan cannot take place.

Data Anomalies in NSSO–EUS Figures, 2011–12

The major rounds of Employment–Unemployment Surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey Office every five years provide a continuous, robust, and reliable source of employment statistics in India. However, a closer analysis of the unit-level figures for the latest round of eus reveals disparities in the details of the industry–occupation information.

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