Covid-19 changes data collection process: Social distancing, telephonic interviews new normal

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Published: June 30, 2020 4:29 PM

The ministry is developing a generalised survey solution for capturing data through mobile phones, web-based interface and telephonic interviews while adhering to the social distancing norms.

Due to issue in data collection because of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, the government has not released retail inflation figures for May and June.Due to issue in data collection because of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, the government has not released retail inflation figures for May and June. (Photo: Financial Express)

Amid the resurgent coronavirus pandemic in the country, the government has changed its data collection process. Data collection in the time of pandemic is turning out to be a difficult task while adhering to the social distancing norms. “We have revamped and revised our data collection processes,” said Pravin Srivastava, MoSPI (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation) Secretary and Chief Statistician of India as reported by The Indian Express. “We are educating our enumerators on how to maintain social distance and still be able to collect data,” he added.

According to Srivastava MoSPI is developing an online survey solution to capture data through mobile phones, web-based interface, and telephonic interviews, etc. This will be the “new normal for the country’s statistical system,” said Srivastava on Monday while addressing a webinar on National Statistics Day.

The ministry is developing a generalised survey solution. And, it is going to be branded as “E-Sigma”. This will “pave the way for more intelligent, more easy data to be captured using mobile devices,” said Srivastava. “This revolution in data capturing will be supplemented and augmented by telephonic interviews and web-based interfaces,” he added.

“All these interventions will be the new normal for the entire statistical system where traditional data capturing systems will be facing a lot of challenges in adapting itself to the requirements of the country,” The Indian Express quoted Srivastava as saying.

In order to improve the data quality, both at national and state levels, the ministry has formalised a loan from the World Bank, informed Srivastava. He also hinted at launching soon a national integrated portal for all Indian official statistics.

Due to the issue in data collection because of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, the government has not released retail inflation data for May and June.

With 18,522 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, the total number of infections in the country has surged to 566,840 cases, while fatalities related to the virus rose to 16,893.

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