Bhubaneswar: Nabakrushna Choudhury Centre for Development Studies (NCDS), Bhubaneswar organised a Panel Discussion on National Statistics Day, 29 June 2020, to celebrate 127th birthday of Prof PC Mahalanobis.
The panellists were Professor T Krisnha Kumar, formerly with the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) and a direct student of Prof Mahalanobis; Profesor MH Suryanarayana, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai and ICCR Chair 2020, King’s College, London and a grandstudent of Professor Mahalanobis; and Prof. Pulak Ghosh, Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru and Member, National Statistical Commission.
The discussion was moderated by Professor Srijit Mishra, Director, NCDS, with the help of his colleagues Professor Shibalal Member and Dr Rashmi Mishra. As per the decision by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, this year’s theme for the National Statistics Day and also for our panel discussion was on two aspects Heath and Well-being, and Gender Equality, the third and the fifth, Sustainable Development Goals, respectively, which was introduced by Ms Diptimayee Jena.
Professor Kumar pointed out that with the change in time, our concepts and data sets are changing, and hence, we need to have new kind of thinking on how to do survey and how to make use of data available in the form of text, voice, as also static and moving pictures. He also stressed that information from historical sources should be subjected to the new tools and techniques.
Professor Suryanarayana emphasised on the careful use of statistics in public policy so that we can address the concerns of the vulnerable such as gender and other socio-economic groups. He also argued out a case for the policy maker to be sensitive to the uses and abuses of statistics.
Professor Ghosh brought out that statistics will be in danger if it does not accept the developments in Computer Science in the use of Big Data analytics. The statistician should also look for new data sources to address emerging concerns like COVID-19 and the related concern regarding return of migrants.
An overarching theme across the speakers and from the ensuing discussion, as indicated by Professor Srijit Mishra, is to break silos. There is a need for channels of effective communication across disciplines as also between academia, policy makers and public.
Ms Rashmi Samal summarised the discussions and gave the vote of thanks. Technical support was provided by Dr Bibhuti Sahoo of Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar and Odisha Library Academy as also by Mr Niranjan Mohapatra, Librarian, NCDS, and other staff of NCDS.