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    Dr. Parveen Kumar

    Statistics is the scientific study that deals with the collection and analysis of data and interpretation of that data to arrive at useful conclusions. It is mostly used to keep records, calculate probabilities, and provide insights into new knowledge. Basically it helps us to understand the a little bit better through numbers and other quantitative information. Statistical knowledge helps us to use the proper methods to collect the data, employ the correct analyses, and effectively present the results. A sound and reliable statistical base is the essential pre requisite for socio-economic planning and policy formulation and for performance appraisal of various government policies and programmes in different sectors contributing to the economy of the country. Statistics is the bedrock of modern evidence based analysis and policy making.

    IMPORTANCE OF STATISTICS: Statistics is a crucial process behind how we make discoveries in science, make decisions based on data, and make predictions. Statistics is one of the crucial parts of planning. Without statistics, the plan can't be possible. Statistics helps to do planning in business, economics, government level, and even a person. It has been noticed that 63% of people plan their activity a year or less in advance. To do solid planning, companies use the data related to production, consumption, birth, death, income, and so on. Statistics help the countries do adequate planning that is crucial for them. The best and most practical example of the use of data pertains to the data collected and analyzed during COVID-19 pandemic period. Based on the data collected and its analysis, the government took various containment as well as precautionary measures. Modeling studies using data also reveal the rate of infection in future thereby enabling governments of many countries to upgrade their and medical infrastructure.  We have already seen how government of different countries successfully planned and managed the control of COVID-19 virus. This pandemic also proved the importance of statistics in our daily life.

    Statistics plays a vital role in understanding economic data such as the relationship between the demand and supply, quantity and price, economic output, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), per capita income of nations etc. Statistics helps an economist to present economic facts or data in a precise and definite form. Statistics helps to condense or reduce the bulk of data as in the case of finding the average income of the population. Statistics facilitates forecasting and predicting of future. The condensed figures using various statistical tools help us to arrive at various developmental indicators like the literacy rate, sex ratio, Infant and Maternal Mortality rate, population growth rate and many other demographic figures. Based on the condensed and final figures obtained by the statistical results, policies and programmes are formulated by the government.




    ABOUT ‘FATHER OF INDIAN STATISTICS': The man credited with revolutionizing Statistics in the country and given the title of Father of Indian Statistics is Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis. He was born on June 29, 1893 in Kolkata (then Calcutta) and left this world on June 28, 1972. He is considered the father of modern statistics in as the Indian statistician who devised the Mahalanobis distance and was instrumental in formulating India's strategy for industrialization in the Second Five-Year Plan (1956–61). His other contributions include establishment of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), shaped the Planning Commission, now NITI Aayog  and pioneered methodologies for large-scale surveys. He introduced innovative techniques for conducting large-scale sample surveys, calculated acreages and crop yields, using the method of random sampling. He also devised a statistical method called ‘Fractile Graphical Analysis', used to compare socio-economic conditions of varied groups. He is credited with promotion of statistical quality control movement for improvement of Industrial products. In 1930 he proposed the Mahalanobis Distance for the first time, which is a measure of comparison between two data sets. The formula is used to find the distance between a point and a distribution, based on measurements in multiple dimensions. It is widely used in the field of cluster analysis and classification. The Indian Statistical Institute was declared as an institute of national importance in 1959. He also started ‘Sankhya: The Indian Journal of Statistics' in 1933. In 1950 he established the National Sample Survey and set up the Central Statistical Organization to coordinate statistical activities. In 1955, he became a member of the Planning Commission and continued in that capacity till 1967. He was instrumental in formulating India's second five-year-plan (1956-1961), which laid the blueprint for industrialisation and development in India. In 1968, he was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, besides being conferred a large number of awards by organizations.

    HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL STATISTICS DAY: In recognition of the notable contribution made by Prof. Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis in the fields of economic planning and statistical development in the post independent era, the Govt. of India decided to designate his birthday 29th June every year as the National Statistics Day. The National Statistics Day is in the category of special day to be celebrated at the national level. Notification to this effect was published in the Gazette of India on June 05, 2007. The Day is celebrated by holding seminars, discussions and competitions to highlights the importance of official statistics in national development.

    Acknowledging that the production of reliable, timely statistics and indicators of countries' progress is indispensable for informed policy decisions and monitoring implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, the General Assembly adopted on 3 June 2010 resolution 64/267. The resolution officially designated 20 October 2010 as the first ‘World Statistics Day.' The first world statistics day was celebrated under the general theme ‘celebrating the many achievements of official statistics.' Before the resolution 64/267, at its 41st session in February 2010, the United Nations Statistical Commission proposed celebrating 20 October 2010 as World Statistics Day vide its decision 41/109.

    As the world requires data to face many common challenges, let us use the National and the World Statistics Day to spotlight the role of statistics in advancing sustainable development for all of us. Needless to say that a fair and transparent statistical system of analysis is indispensible for formulation of different policies and programmes and also to monitor the progress achieved in terms of various indicators in different sectors of the economy. To put it in the words of Mahalanobis, ‘Statistics must have a clearly defined purpose, one aspect of which is scientific advancement and the other human welfare and advancement'. The celebration of this important day must not be taken as a formality only to remind us of the contribution of the great statistician to the Indian statistical system, but it should also be the day to strengthen our resolve to modernize and further update this vital system in terms of timeliness, adequacy, credibility and precision.



    The author writes on agriculture and social issues, can be reached at





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