Steve H. Hanke, a Professor of Applied Economics at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (USA) and a member of the Charter Council of the Society of Economic Measurement, spoke to Outlook's Jeevan Prakash Sharma on why India doesn’t have a good data.
What could be the reason for poor data generation and management in India?
India has a poor track record of maintaining a reliable labour market and other economic statistics. One important reason for this is that almost half of India’s economy is considered to be in the “shadow economy.”
Do you think it is due to poor data culture or a deliberate attempt to hide the real picture?
The problem is a mix of poor data culture and a bloated, corrupt bureaucracy. This is confirmed in a report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP). According to CEIP, the Indian Administrative Service “is hamstrung by political interference and outdated personnel procedures.”
Is it due to bad data that India is not able to predict the pressure on its health infrastructure? And will it cause an acute crisis in the near future?
Missing or low-quality data are always a major problem when attempting to form public policy in the health--or any other--field. It’s equivalent to the pilot of an aircraft flying blind.