Data for Sustainable Development

Data is the foundation of accountability and bedrock of decision-making
"The resulting data revolution has the capacity to marginalize, exclude, and misinform people as much as it has the potential to promote and inform action toward the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals."
"The resulting data revolution has the capacity to marginalize, exclude, and misinform people as much as it has the potential to promote and inform action toward the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals." Flickr [Creative Commons]

The government of India has designated June 29 as “National Statistics Day” in honour of Professor (late) Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis’, which also happens to be his birthday, as he has significant contributions to the fields of statistics and economic planning.

This designation falls under the category of Special Days that must be observed at the national level.

The goal of this day is to raise public awareness, particularly among the younger generation, regarding the value and necessity of statistics in socioeconomic planning and the formulation of public policy.

Theme: Data for Sustainable Development

The resulting data revolution has the capacity to marginalize, exclude, and misinform people as much as it has the potential to promote and inform action toward the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The monitoring of social indicators and the participation of community-level actors with the use of technology are the subjects of this study.

Data is the foundation of accountability and the lifeblood of decision-making. Today, consumer profiling, personalized services, and predictive analysis are commonplace in the private sector and utilized for marketing, advertising, and management.

Similar methods could be used to monitor people’s wellbeing in real time and concentrate aid on the most vulnerable populations. If used responsibly, new data sources, technology, and analytical methods—such as satellite data—can enable more swift, effective, and evidence-based decision-making, as well as more accurately and fairly gauge progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Building data trust often entails ideas of assuring transparency and visibility, data quality assurance, and maintaining data provenance, especially in this era of fake news and alternative facts.

Trust is linked to socio-political concepts of democratic involvement, civic engagement, citizen ownership, and buy-in in addition to these data-centric components.

Therefore, establishing trust within the data ecosystem and “leaving no one behind,” which is a fundamental tenet of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, are not two dissimilar concerns in indicators monitoring but rather components of the same goal of development towards the maturity of the social indicators ecosystem.

The small data for development strategy, which focuses on the individual (or the source of the data) as the locus of data collection, analysis, and usage towards expanding their skills and freedom to attain their intended functioning, is generally adopted in this research.

Small data is a method that focuses on evaluating data at the same unit at which it is collected in order to provide people, who are typically the providers of data, with pertinent and useful insights from the data.

Small data not only permits and supports development action at the individual and community levels, but also provides for a sophisticated understanding of the phenomena of human development.

Thus, the predominantly top-down, macro-level human development statistics stand to be enhanced and supplemented by the bottom-up, micro-level, citizen-generated, locally relevant data.

The full value and utility of data for development can only be realised and given through a synergistic interaction between the small data approaches and the conventional social indicators ways inside mature data ecosystems.

Why celebrated on birthday of P.C. Mahalanobis

National Statistics Day was first celebrated on 29th June 2007. The Government of India decided to celebrate the outstanding contribution made by Late Professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis in the field of economic planning and statistical development and hence mark his birth anniversary as ‘National Statistics Day.

Professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis is known as the father of Indian Statistics. He was born on 29 June 1893, an Indian statistician and scientist. He devised a measure of comparison between two data sets that are now known as the Mahalanobis distance.

He was a member of the planning commission (1956-61) and he gave a two-sector Input-output model for the Second Five Year Plan which later became known as the Nehru-Mahalanobis model.

He founded Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in December 1931 in Kolkata. Those are Padma Vibhushan (1968), Weldon Memorial Prize from the University of Oxford (1944), Fellow of the Royal Society, London(1945).

Khalid Ul Islam, Research Scholar (Statistics), Skuast-Jammu

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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