Stat panel seeks detailed analysis of poverty data

Written by Economy Bureau | New Delhi, Oct 29 | Updated: Oct 30 2007, 04:38am hrs
Joining the debate over the quality of data collected in various surveys conducted by government, the National Statistical Commission (NSC) on Monday sought a detailed review to adopt a reference period for collecting data.

NSC chairman Suresh Tendulkar has asked NSSO and the Indian Statistical Institute to undertake the analysis of the data collected to understand the impact of abridgment. This has been done to address the confusion over estimating poverty in the country.

The studies by the NSSO and the ISI would throw light on the methodology followed in the national surveys, Tendulkar said while inaugurating a seminar on the findings of NSS 61st Round.

As the poverty estimates released by the Planning Commission determines the eligibility for benefits such as BPL allocation of food grain to the states, Tendulkar said, a firm choice of reference period is necessary.

Different reference periods (30-day recall period and 365-day recall period) used in the earlier surveys had prompted the Planning Commission to come out with two sets of poverty figures resulting in a controversy over the real status of poverty in the country.

The government on a number of areas has started altering the method of calculating various key data, including that of inflation and the index of industrial production (IIP). While in the case of the IIP the government wants to keep pace with the rapidly changing income and consumption patterns, with inflation it wants to include other sectors to calculate the overall price increase. The new IIP would include indices for measuring growth of the SSI sector and calculating consumer prices in urban areas

The use of different reference periods by the NSSO has also generated an intense debate in the academic circles and controversy about estimating poverty.

Tendulkar also underlined the need for improving survey methodology to make the NSS data more useful for users.