The National Statistics Day is celebrated every year in India on June 29 to create public awareness about the importance of statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation. This day celebrates birth anniversary of Late Professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis and acknowledges his notable contribution in fields of statistics, statistical system and economic planning. The theme of Statistics Day 2019 is “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. It underscores for intensive and focused discussions towards filling data gaps and improvement of timelines and quality in SDGs.
The Statistics Day observed on June 29 was officially designated by Union Government in 2007 in recognition of notable contributions made by Late Professor PC Mahalanobis in the fields of statistics. Since then it is observed annually and every year Union Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI) and Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) selects particular theme for day.
About PC Mahalanobis
- He was Indian scientist and applied statistician. Born on 29 June 1893 in Kolkata, West Bengal. Died on 28 June 1972 in Kolkata.
- He was the first statistician from India to receive world recognition. He is referred to as chief architect of Indian statistical system as well as father of statistical science in India.
- He established Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in 1931 in Kolkata. The institute founded India’s first statistical journal journal Sankhya, along lines of Karl Pearson’s Biometrika. ISI was made an autonomous body of MoSPI in 1959.
- Post-independence, he had helped (as honorary statistical adviser to cabinet) in establishment of Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), National Sample Survey (NSS) and Annual Survey of Industries (ASI).
- In 1947, he was elected Chairman of United Nations Sub-Commission on Statistical Sampling and held this post until 1951.
- He had introduced statistical measure named Mahalanobis distance in 1936. It is widely used in cluster analysis and classification techniques. His most important contribution is related to Large-Scale Sample Surveys.
- He introduced three key concepts to theory and practice of sample surveys viz. Pilot surveys, Optimum survey design and Inter Penetrating Network of sub-samples technique (IPNS).
- He was also member of the Planning Commission (PC) from 1955 to 1967. The 2nd Five-Year Plan had relied on mathematical description of Indian economy framed by Mahalanobis. This plan had encouraged development of heavy industry in India and later became known as Nehru-Mahalanobis model or Basic Industry strategy of economic growth.