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

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Decoding the Million Death Study

The lack of reliable, cause-specific mortality statistics is considered a major obstacle to the improvement of public health in many low- and middle-income countries. Researchers and government officials in India have set up the Million Death Study to address this situation. First, how the study produces quantitative estimates of the burden of mortality in India is explored by collecting symptomatic data, using that data for diagnostic purposes, and aggregating those diagnoses into an overview of mortality in India. Second, the limitations of the perspective on public health based on discrete and specific diseases that result from this approach are addressed. Numbers alone cannot solve the public health issues India faces, rather cognitive justice towards a broader range of perspectives on major public health problems is required to develop effective political interventions.

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.

The 1872 Census

Often cited as an exemplary form of the epistemological violence wrought by the British colonial rule in much postcolonial inquiry, the 1872 Census merits closer analysis in the context of wider 19th-century conversations about the so-called science of statistics. An in-depth study of the processes and reports reveals that the village munduls were in fact indispensable to the actual work of enumeration and the singular figure of “indigenous agency.” The role they played constituted an important condition of the possibility of implementing the census in late 19th-century Bengal.

A Critique of RBI’s Trend and Progress of Banking in India

Over the last three years, the scope of the Reserve Bank of India’s Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India has drastically come down. Information on important aspects of the operations of commercial banks and other financial institutions is now not presented in the report. A plea is made to restore the contents of the erstwhile reports and enhance the utility of the publication with additional data fromRBI’s existing database.

India's 'Poverty of Numbers'

The number of "poor" derived by applying price adjustment to an old consumption basket, which is largely what official poverty measures have done, are very different from estimates based on actual consumption baskets that have changed over time. For instance, the share of cereals in household expenditure halved between 1993-94 and 2011-12 in rural areas. In the light of this, we ask if all expenditure would be on food, what percentage of the population would be unable to meet the prescribed calorie requirement? Adding a "minimum" level of expenditure on clothing-bedding-footwear, fuel and light, and conveyance to the "derived" sum of food expenditure provides a second counterfactual. Similarly, the cumulative addition of expenditure on other consumer goods and services provides further counterfactual scenarios.

National Statistical Commission: An Overview of the Recommendations

The loss of credibility of official statistics, especially in the 1990s, prompted the appointment of the National Statistical Commission with wide-ranging terms of reference. After analysing the deficiencies of the Indian statistical system in terms of its administrative and technical requirements, the commission has made several recommendations to revamp the statistical system. This article presents the approach taken by the commission and some of the salient recommendations.
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