The government has cleared the merger of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and Central Statistics Office (CSO) vide order dated May 23. The two bodies under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) are to be merged to create an all-encompassing National Statistical Office (NSO) that would be headed by secretary, Statistics and Programme Implementation.
However, the order doesn’t talk about the National Statistical Commission (NSC) that has been the supervising body for the entire statistical related work in India. Moreover, there is no mention of the secretary, Statistics and Programme Implementation to be equivalent of the Chief Statistician of India unlike in the previous resolution notified by MoSPI on June 1, 2005.
The 2005 resolution had notified initiation of the setting up of the NSC along with proposing the single entity, National Statistical Organisation, as the executive wing of the government for statistics that would act according to the policies and priorities as laid down by the NSC.
It had also suggested CSO and NSSO as two wings with NSO, while the May 23 order said that the “statistics wing, comprising the NSO, with constituents as CSO and NSSO, to be an integral part of the main Ministry, with CSO and NSO to be merged into NSO.”
The resolution had also stated that the NSO would be “headed by an officer of the rank of secretary who will be designated as the Chief Statistician of India and he will also function as the secretary of the (National Statistical) Commission.” However, the recent order has said that the NSO will be headed by Secretary (S&PI), with various divisions reporting to secretary through the Director Generals (DGs).
“The character of NSSO will change by merging it with CSO and will bring it out of NSC s control. Earlier, NSSO was an attached office of MoSPI, which gave it a legally distinct identity from the ministry. The restructuring is perhaps a reaction to the resignations tendered by the member and acting chairman of the NSC earlier this year.
The MoSPI said that the restructuring order for the Indian official statistics system has come “in order to streamline and strengthen the present nodal functions” of the ministry and “to bring in more synergy by integrating its administrative functions within the ministry.” Financial Express .