Why the Merger of NSSO and CSO is a cause of Concern?

The decision of the government to merge the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) into and under the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has raised many concerns.

How NSSO Worked?

Every year various departments of government send National Statistical Commission (NSC) a list of subjects that they would like to be investigated by the NSSO.

NSC discusses these proposals at length keeping in view the budget allocations, availability of trained field staff and supervisors. After providing for periodic repeat surveys the subjects to be covered in a particular year and the scope of the inquiries are decided.

To ensure objectivity and rationality the tasks of sampling design, the scope and content of information to be collected, design of schedules and protocols of fieldwork are left to be decided by special working groups chaired by experts from academia, and senior officials of the CSO and the NSSO, State government representatives as well as select non-official experts.

Once the field work is done, the tabulated results are discussed in detail by the NSC and are published after its approval.

Merger and Concerns

The widespread apprehension is that the proposed absorption of NSSO into the CSO could compromise the surveys by subjecting their review and publication to government approval. This could compromise the integrity of the process.

Further, any attempts to subject the substantive work, publication and free dissemination of data to the department s approval will hugely dent the credibility of the Indian statistical system.

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