Exercise caution in data analysis, says Mukherjee

Kolkata, Jan 10 : Stressing the efficacy of polices lay on the quality of data collected by government agencies, President Pranab Mukherjee Friday underscored the importance of the authenticity of information gathered and called for exercising caution in data analysis and inferences.

"The efficacy of our policies, especially in the social sector, hinges on the quality of data collected by different government agencies. Good policies call for good data standards.

"Great emphasis must therefore be laid on the authenticity of the information gathered so as to form the basis of policy intervention," Mukherjee said at the 48th convocation of Indian Statistical Institute here.

Refering to the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008, which seeks to facilitate the collection of data on several socio-economic and other parameters, the president said it makes it the collective responsibility of the citizens and the seekers of information to ensure furnishing of correct and adequate statistics.

"I am sure our policies will continue to have the imprint of quality data and their sound analyses," he said.

The president said while statistical models and techniques bestow great advantage to the user, "it is prudent to also exercise due caution in analysing large data and drawing inferences.

"Capturing unstructured data and converting them into a structured format are technically challenging problems. They have to be pursued in an enlightened manner," he said.

The country needed to have a large pool of competent statisticians to support the analytical needs of the public and private sectors, the president said, urging universities and academic institutions teaching statistics and allied subjects, to take due care to upgrade the standards of instruction.

"I look upon a distinguished institution like the ISI to take the lead in transforming the academic management of this important discipline," he said.

Enhanced capability of analysing large data has had a positive impact on the country's ability to formulate effective public policies, helping in improving transparency to ensure last mile connectivity, the president said.

Mukherjee also highlighted the spinoff effects like improvement in weather forecast and in initiating counter terrorism programmes like the National Intelligence Grid.

"Efforts have been made to introduce statistical systems for estimation and control of fake Indian currency notes.

"I am happy to note that ISI is involved in developing technologies and theories in the areas of cryptology and information security that are likely to have far reaching impact on national security policies," Mukherjee added.

--IANS (Posted on 10-01-2014)

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