The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation came into existence as an Independent Ministry on 15.10.1999 after the merger of the Department of Statistics and the Department of Programme Implementation. The Ministry has two wings, one relating to Statistics and the other Programme Implementation. The Statistics Wing called the National Statistical Office(NSO) consists of the Central Statistical Office (CSO), the Computer Centre and the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO). The Programme Implementation Wing has three Divisions, namely, (i) Twenty Point Programme (ii) Infrastructure Monitoring and Project Monitoring and (iii) Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme. Besides these two wings, there is National Statistical Commission created through a Resolution of Government of India (MOSPI) and one autonomous Institute, viz., Indian Statistical Institute declared as an institute of National importance by an Act of Parliament.
The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation attaches considerable importance to coverage and quality aspects of statistics released in the country. The statistics released are based on administrative sources, surveys and censuses conducted by the Centre and State Governments and non-official sources and studies. The surveys conducted by the Ministry are based on scientific sampling methods. Field data are collected through dedicated field staff. In line with the emphasis on the quality of statistics released by the Ministry, the methodological issues concerning the compilation of national accounts are overseen Committees like Advisory Committee on National Accounts, Standing Committee on Industrial Statistics, Technical Advisory Committee on Price Indices. The Ministry compiles datasets based on current data, after applying standard statistical techniques and extensive scrutiny and supervision.
India is a subscriber to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS) and is currently fulfilling the Standards. The Ministry maintains an ‘Advance Release Calendar’ for its data categories covered under the SDDS, which is disseminated on the Ministry’s website as well as on the Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB) of the IMF. The Ministry releases the datasets covered under the Real Sector of SDDS through press notes and its web-site simultaneously. The Ministry has been designated as the nodal Ministry to facilitate the implementation of the SAARC Social Charter in India. The Ministry organizes technical meetings on a regular basis on various topics to assess the data-gaps in the system and the quality of statistics currently released. The CSO staff participates in meetings and seminars organized by international and regional organizations such as the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, on statistical compilations and international practices. The Indian statistical system is one of the best systems in the world. The Ministry’s officials have been associated with international agencies on the development of methodologies, particularly in the areas of national accounts, informal sector statistics, large-scale sample surveys, conduct of censuses, service sector statistics, non-observed economy, social sector statistics, environmental statistics and classifications. The contribution of the Ministry’s officials in international meetings on these subjects is highly appreciated.