The Government of India has appointed Kshatrapati Shivaji, a 1986-batch Maharashtra cadre IAS officer, as secretary in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) from September 1. The secretary at this ministry is, by design, known as the chief statistician of India.
But he has only been given additional charge to head India’s statistical system, and the government has not appointed a full-time chief statistician yet. Shivaji will continue to lead the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions as his main charge until his superannuation at the end of March 2021.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved the assignment on August 31.
The interesting bit is that the Cabinet post for this ministry is held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This is the second instance when a secretary at this ministry will oversee India’s statistical system. In 2018, when T C A Anant quit as the then chief statistician, the Modi government had given the top job for government statistics to the then secretary in this very ministry, K V Eapen.
Speaking exclusively to Business Standard, Shivaji said his focus will be on digitisation and using modern techniques to improve statistical integrity — be it formulating the consumer price index or any other data that MoSPI generates.
“In these changing times, especially after Covid, it is important to transform processes, design or structure of (data) products, as working remotely is rapidly becoming a norm,” he said.
The official heading MoSPI is responsible for monthly publication of industrial production, consumer inflation, annual survey of industries, economic censuses, and quinquennial surveys on employment and consumption expenditure, among other statistical reports. All these reports go into the preparation of national income accounts, which is the basis for the formulation of gross domestic product in the economy.