October 20, 2020

Statistics and World Statistics Day

Statistic has been called “science of king” as in ancient times statistics was mainly used by kings to collect information about their kingdom and the people in it (similar to the government today). It may be said to have its origin in census counts taken thousands of years ago; as a distinct scientific discipline, however, it was developed in the early 19th century as the study of populations, economies, and moral actions and later in that century as the mathematical tool for analyzing such numbers. The word statistics comes from the modern Latin phrase statisticum collegium (lecture about state affairs), which gave rise to the Italian word statista (statesman or politician — compare to status) and the German Statistik (originally the analysis of data about the state). Statistics is a mathematical body of science that pertains to the collection, analysis, interpretation or explanation, and presentation of data, or as a branch of mathematics. At present, statistics is considered a distinct mathematical science rather than a branch of mathematics. An example of statistics is a report of numbers saying how many followers of each religion there are in a particular country. It helps in providing data as well as tools to analyze the data. Some powerful techniques are index numbers, time series analysis, and also forecasting. These are immensely useful in the analysis of data in economic planning. Further, statistical techniques help in framing planning models too. The earlier key events in the development of statistics in Europe were 1532, First weekly data on deaths in London (Sir W. Petty); 1539, Start of data collection on baptisms, marriages, and deaths in France; 1608, Beginning of parish registry in Sweden, 1654, Correspondence on gambling with dice (P. de Fermat B. Pascal); 1662, First published demographic study based on bills of mortality (J. Graunt); 1693, Publ. of An estimate of the degrees of mortality of mankind drawn from curious tables of the births and funerals at the city of Breslaw with an attempt to ascertain the price of annuities upon lives (E. Halley); 1713, Publ. of Ars Conjectandi (J. Bernoulli); 1714, Publ. of Libellus de Ratiocinus in Ludo Aleae (C. Huygens); 1714, Publ. of The Doctrine of Chances (A. De Moivre); 1763, Publ. of An essay towards solving a problem in the Doctrine of Chances (Rev. Bayes); 1809, Publ. of Theoria Motus Corporum Coelestium (C.F. Gauss); 1812, Publ. of Théorie analytique des probabilities (P.S. Laplace); 1834, Establishment of the Statistical Society of London; 1839, Establishment of the American Statistical Association (Boston); 1899, Publ. of Natural Inheritance (F. Galton); 1900, Development of the chisquare test (K. Pearson); 1901, Publ. of the first issue of Biometrika (F. Galton et al.); 1903, Development of Principal Component Analysis (K. Pearson); 1908, Publ. of The probable error of a mean (`”Student”); 1910, Publ. of An introduction to the theory of statistics (G.U. Yule); 1933, Publ. of On the empirical determination of a distribution (A.N. Kolmogorov); 1935, Publ. of The Design of Experiments (R.A. Fisher); 1936, Publ. of Relations between two sets of variables (H. Hotelling). For more historical details one can refer to Johnson and Kotz (1998). Statistics plays a crucial role in every field of human activity that is why Karl Pearson, the British mathematician said “Statistics is the Grammar of science”. World Statistics Day (WSD) is an International Day to celebrate Statistics all over the globe. Created by the United Nations Statistical Commission, it was first celebrated on October, 02-10-2020 with the theme “service, professionalism, integrity, celebrating the many contributions and achievements of official statistics.” The day is celebrated every five years to recognize the importance of statistics in shaping our societies as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly. It was a great success, with activities organized in more than 130 Member States and by at least 40 international and regional organizations and entities.The United Nations General Assembly on 3rd June, 2015, adopted resolution 69/82, in which it designated 20 October, 2015 as the second world statistics day and decided to celebrate the day every five years on 20 October. On 20 October, 2015, the Second World Statistics was celebrated with the Theme “Better data, Better Lives.” The Third world Statistics Day (WSD) is being celebrated around the globe on 20 October, 2020 with the theme “connecting the world with data we can trust. The theme reflects on the importance of trust, authoritative data, innovation and the public good in national statistical systems. At 51st session of UN Statistical Commission, world Statistics Day 2020 was launched. It is important to mention that as of 2010, 103 countries celebrate a national statistics Day, including 51 African Countries that jointly celebrate African Statistics Day annually on 18 November. India celebrates its National Statistics Day on 29 June, the birthday of the legendary Statistician professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, the founder of Indian National Statistical System. The first Indian National Statistics Day was celebrated on 29 June, 2007 and since then it is celebrated annually in India on the same date. 14th Indian Statistics Day was celebrated on 29th of June, 2020 with the theme “Sustainable Development Goals; SDG-3-Good Health and well-being and SDG-5 Gender Equality. The Royal Statistical Society in the UK also launched its gestate Statistical Literacy Campaign on 20-10-2010.
Statistics can connect isolated people together to encourage cooperation and global collaboration in order to win the fight against covid-19. In brief, the purpose of organizing World Statistics Day 2020 is to monitor the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) at the national, regional and international levels, to acknowledge the fundamental importance of sustainable national statistical capacity, to produce reliable and timely statistics and indicators measuring a country’s progress, which is an indispensable basis for informed policy decision making and to support national efforts in building and strengthening national statistical capacity.
The United Nations Statistical Commission (STATCOM) the highest body of the global Statistical system meets every year and submits a report on each session to the Economic and Social Council annually is a functional Commission of UN Economic and Social council and was established in 1947 overseas the work of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD). The United Nations Statistical Commission consists of 24 member countries of the United Nations elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council on the basis of an equitable geographical distribution according to the following pattern: African States(5), Asian States(4), Eastern European States(4), Latin American and Caribbean States(4), Western European and other states (7). The term of office Members is four years. It bringing together the chief Statisticians from member states from around the world.dd It is the highest decision making body for international Statistical activities, responsible for setting up of statistical standards and the development of concepts and methods, including their implementation at the national and international level. The United Nations Statistical Commission has created international methodological standards and guidelines in virtually every area of statistics. It has played a key role in helping governments strengthen their statistical reporting, making data more available and comparable across countries and regions than even before. Statistics permeate modern life are vital tool for economic and social development, including our efforts to achieve sustainable development Goals 2030. Good data and statistics are indispensable for informed decision-making by all actors in the society. It is also required for effective Disaster Management and emergency services as countries and organisations embark on implementing the ambitious 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, reliable and timely statistics and indicators are more important than ever. Statistics are crucial to economic and social development as they generate healthy public debate and contribute to the progress of nations. Statistics serve everyone and are indispensable to academic research and the development of the business and the civil society. The fundamental importance of Statistics has never had a stronger recognition than it is receiving today. However, an in depth look at the process of development over the years reveals that there is lack of good academic research and collection of high quality data for research in the economy, society, demography, environment, National Resources Management, Climate change and many other developmental challenges confronting the developing economies of the world. Our slogan this year is “connecting the world with data we can trust.” The key element in the design of this year’s theme is to highlight the importance of trusted data in the world today and also to building trust in statistics globally. The theme has two dimensions; Statistics as a field of science and statistics as public data. The world Statistics Day is meant to focus mainly on official statistics, however, the scope of statistics extends in a broader sense. As for the first aspect, statistics plays essential roles in broad areas of medical sciences, earth sciences and social sciences. Statistics as such is rightly called the language of sciences. Statistical methods are rigorously applied to all scientific research and analysis. As for the second aspect, statistics are a central consideration in justifying almost every aspect of budgets, programmes and policies. Bringing out statistical publications is an essential public service, disseminating reliable and easy-to-understand information to the public is essential to generate public debate and intellectual discourse and contribute to the national progress and prosperity and help enhancing welfare of the mankind at large. The Statisticians thus carry out an essential public service: one that promotes peace and democracy by giving citizens reliable and impartial public information about their communities. Let us all acknowledge the crucial role of statistics in fulfilling our global mission of development and peace. In the context of big data, the definition in extended to veracity of data, which refers to the data quality and the data value. The data quality of captured data can vary greatly affecting the accurate analysis. Data collected must be processed with advanced tools to disclose meaningful and credible information that could be used for devising policies and schemes. Statistics bears important roles in all times. We need local statistics to ensure that every child has access to education and we need global statistics to monitor the overall effects of climate change. This year’s World Statistics Day coincides with the virtual UN world Data Forum which bring together statisticians, data scientists, politicians, experts from the business sector and civil society to highlight how the global community has responded to the data revolution and the demand for innovative solutions to meet the data demands of the sustainable development. Exchange of views during the UN World Data Forum this October will make a good dedication to the world Statistics Day. In this way, Statistics can connect isolated people together to encourage cooperation and global collaboration in order to win the fight against covid-19. In brief, the purpose of organizing World Statistics Day 2020 is to monitor the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) at the national, regional and international levels, to acknowledge the fundamental importance of sustainable national statistical capacity, to produce reliable and timely statistics and indicators measuring a country’s progress, which is an indispensable basis for informed policy decision making and to support national efforts in building and strengthening national statistical capacity.

(The author is an Associate Professor at S K University Of Agriculture Sciences & Technology -SKUAST-Kashmir. Views are his own) [email protected]

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