Union Cabinet approved to adopt United Nations fundamental principles of official statistics

May 5, 2016 13:09 IST

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 4 May 2016 approved to adopt the United Nations fundamental principles of official statistics.

The adoption will bring professional independence, impartiality, accountability and transparency of official statistics, besides adopting international standards.

It will also pave way for devising a National Policy on Official Statistics for improving systems, procedures and institutions consistent with these principles.

The ten Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics those are endorsed by the UN General Assembly as follows:

Principle 1: Official statistics provide an indispensable element in the information system of a democratic society, serving the Government and economy among others.

Principle 2: To retain trust in official statistics, the statistical agencies need to decide according to strictly professional considerations, including scientific principles and professional ethics, on the methods and procedures for the collection, processing, storage and presentation of statistical data.

Principle 3: To facilitate a correct interpretation of the data, the statistical agencies are to present information according to scientific standards on the sources, methods and procedures of the statistics.

Principle 4: The statistical agencies are entitled to comment on erroneous interpretation and misuse of statistics.

Principle 5: Data for statistical purposes may be drawn from all types of sources, be they statistical surveys or administrative records. Statistical agencies are to choose the source with regard to quality, timeliness, costs and the burden on Respondents.

Principle 6: Individual data collected by statistical agencies for statistical compilation, whether they refer to natural or legal persons, are to be strictly confidential and used exclusively for statistical purposes.

Principle 7: The laws, regulations and measures under which the statistical systems operate are to be made public.

Principle 8: Coordination among statistical agencies within countries is essential to achieve consistency and efficiency in the statistical system.

Principle 9: The use by statistical agencies in each country of international concepts, classifications and methods promotes the consistency and efficiency of statistical systems at all official levels.

Principle 10: Bilateral and multilateral cooperation in statistics contributes to the improvement of systems of official statistics in all countries.


• The UN General Assembly endorsed the Principles in its Resolution in January 2014.

• Eventhough most of the ingredients in these principles are already being adhered to by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI). On a reference from the Union Ministry of External Affairs on the draft UN General Assembly Resolution, MoSPI supported it.

• UN reviewed the matter in in the 46th session of the United Nations Statistics Commission held in New York in March 2015 in which MoSPI represented India.

• The progress of work in implementation of the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics is required to be reported by India to the UN Statistics Division for deliberation in the 48th session of the United Nations Statistics Commission to be held in 2017.

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