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Volunteer boost to statistics system

The state planning and development department has decided to take help of volunteers for panchayat-level data collection.

“Statistics play an important and crucial role in unravelling the ground reality. It leads to corrective measures necessary to get rid of the problems. Right now, our statistical gathering system is weak and we have decided to strengthen our system right from panchayat-level. With this goal, the department has empanelled a list of 11,079 accredited statistical volunteers (ASVs) who will help gather all types of data,” planning and development minister Narendra Narayan Yadav told reporters here on Thursday.

The state government, which has been facing difficulties in collecting data, took the decision following implementation of the Right to Education Act (RTE). The act states that services of schoolteachers cannot be taken for collection of data, Yadav said, while making it clear that the volunteers could not be pressed into service for census although they could be roped in for economic census, labour survey, agriculture survey and all other purposes entrusted by the state government.

During the sixth economic census, starting early next year, the government would need the help and assistance of 80,000 enumerators and supervisors, Yadav said, adding that the volunteers would be trained for carrying out the census. Of the total 19,800 applicants who took the examination for getting empanelled as volunteers, 11,079 candidates cleared the test.

The government has directed all district statistical officers to allot these volunteers the work relating to collection of agriculture data at panchayat level, the minister said. The state government has recently set up a new agency, Bihar Statistical System Development Agency (BSSDA), dedicated to statistics and data collection, said planning and development department principal secretary Vijoy Prakash. He made it clear that the payment for the volunteers would be made on piece rate basis.

Besides, other government departments could also engage the volunteers for collecting data and statistics.


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