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Prioritize public health data collection: Panel | India News


NEW DELHI: The permanent parliamentary finance committee in its report presented in Parliament on Wednesday on the machinery for collecting statistics in the country, has sought to prioritize the collection of data related to public health for better policy formulation in the context of the ongoing pandemic.
The 31-member panel chaired by Jayant Sinha states that “after the global Covid-19 pandemic, public health as such has become even more crucial, requiring government support and active intervention.”
“The committee, therefore, would reiterate its previous recommendation that the Ministry of Statistics and Program Execution (MoSPI) deal with data collection and health-related surveys on a priority basis, as these statistical inputs would be of priority. greatly assists both the central and state governments in formulating appropriate policy responses, “the panel stated.
The report adopted by the commission in September last year was presented in both houses of parliament on Wednesday. Regarding the actions taken in this regard, MoSPI had informed the committee that, in addition to regular surveys, NSSO addresses other issues when requested by the ministries. The health ministry itself is periodically conducting some health-related surveys. MoSPI cited the survey conducted by NSSO during July 2017 to June 2018 on ‘Social consumption: health’ as ​​the recent initiative to take advantage of data on the subject.
Furthermore, the committee notes with concern that as of November 30, 2019, there were 785 vacancies at the rank of Senior Statistical Officer and Junior Statistical Officer. While urgently calling for all vacancies to be filled, the parliamentary panel recommended that a study be conducted to find out the reasons for the high rate of attrition in this sector.

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Honest statistics may have a bitter taste, but they provide an accurate reflection of basic reality, essential for sound policy making. The government should invest in adequate and quality personnel for the collection of statistics. Shortcuts can lead to bad data and therefore the wrong policy.

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