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‘Collect data that can fill gaps in statistics'

Special Correspondent


They help in framing better policies: Arun Rao


MANGALORE: More efforts must be made to collect data that can fill gaps in statistics as they help policymakers in framing better policies, Arun Rao, professor, Department of Statistics, Mangalore University, has said.

He was speaking at a function to mark National Statistical Day at the District Statistical Office here on Wednesday.

Prof. Rao gave examples of issues in the field of health, education and local self government, where more data was required to understand them better.

In the field of education, the practice in semi-urban and rural areas of sending a boy to an English-medium school and a girl to a Kannada-medium school showed gender bias, he said. While he was not in favour of either Kannada or English medium, he said, he was raising the question: “Why should English-medium education be for sons only and not for daughters?"

Continuing with his examples, he said that in the SSLC examination, girls outnumbered boys in performance. “But know how many of those boys and girls join PUC? That data is missing," he said.

Another issue worth examining was that in the Common Entrance Test (CET), boys outperformed girls though in the examination at the PU-level, the girls did better. Also, data on how many boys and girls joined professional courses was not available, he said.

In the field of health, a small sample survey showed that girls got less quantity of food than they needed, while the boys got a larger chunk. Girls were undernourished. No data was available on that, he said. There was insufficient data on medical facilities available to women in rural areas, especially to those from the economically and socially backward segment. Occurrence of cervical cancer classified by religion also needed more data, he said.

“We are getting reports of cruelty to women. But these figures are under-reported. This needs to be set right,” he said. Atrocities against women classified by groups (caste or economic basis), would throw light on women's empowerment. “No demographic details are available. This data is required,” he said.

There was no data available on how many women members in panchayats exercised their powers independently, he said.

Prof. Rao said the district statistical officer could take the lead in getting the missing data.

That may return more data on the work done by housewives, which was not economically noted. Also, how much were women involved in decision-making at home on matters such as buying a house or education?

He said that statistics on men and women should be collected in Dakshina Kannada and other districts as they would help in making policies.

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