The Bold Voice of J&K

Data wise?

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The Centre on Wednesday approved a Bill that seeks to extend jurisdiction of the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008, to Jammu and Kashmir on matters pertaining to statistics under Union and Concurrent lists. The Act was enacted to facilitate the collection of statistics on economics, demographics, social, scientific and environmental aspects and the like and extends to the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir. The Jammu and Kashmir State Legislature has enacted the Jammu and Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010, which extends to the whole of the State and is almost a replica of the central legislation.  Howsoever, the both Central and State statutes are not applicable to statistical subjects falling in the Union List, as applicable to the Jammu and Kashmir under the Constitution Order, 1954. This has created a legislative vacuum. Moreover, the concurrent jurisdiction to be exercised by the Centre in Jammu and Kashmir has also not been provided for. The amendment is intended to address this vacuum. Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, which is responsible for implementing and monitoring the Central Act, has its own stand and in Jammu and Kashmir there may be opposition to such central legislation and politically some section may see the move as a hidden agenda to erode the State’s unique identity but the fact is it would improve data collection in the country for various development purposes. The new Act also provides lot of protection to the people who provide data to the government and also certain enabling powers to government agencies engaged in data collection, besides the penalties laid in the provisions. Under the new Act, failure to provide information could entail penalty of up to Rs 1,000 in case of individuals and Rs 5,000 in case of a company according to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. To ensure confidentiality of data under the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008, any disclosure of information collected from any individual or entity without ensuring secrecy of the identity of the respondent is prohibited.  However, any person or company convicted of neglects or refuses to provide information will not escape just by payment of the one-time fine. So the move in general looks a futuristic one to take development further.

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