The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) has classified the State of Jammu Kashmir into four NSS regions namely mountainous region, Outer Hill region Jhelumvalley region and Ladakh region. The administratively setup of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) has two Regional Offices in Jammu Kashmir, one at Jammu and the other in Srinagar.
As we know that the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) has been in the service of the nation since 1950. The NSSO has been instrumental in developing a strong database on various socio-economic parameters through its countrywide sample surveys, which have helped the central as well as state governments in development planning and policy formulations.
The Surveys conducted by NSSO are in the form of rounds, each round being normally of one-year duration called socio-economic surveys.
The current NSSO Survey is labelled as NSS 76th round which covers most important components of housing, sanitation, drinking water and disability from the selected households and is being conducted from 1st July, 2018 to 30th December, 2018.
There are various agencies in India and abroad that are utilizing the NSS data for estimation of poverty, construction of price indices, assessing impact of various programmes on pattern and level of household consumption expenditure, employment-unemployment situation, condition of agricultural households, migration, utilization of health and education services, etc.
The Enterprise Surveys conducted by the NSSO provide database on non-agricultural enterprises, which is used for estimation of National Income, Gross Fixed Capital Formation, input-output analysis, etc. at both National and State level, besides providing information on the economic conditions of entrepreneurs working in manufacturing, trade and services in un-organized / un-incorporated sector.
The officers of NSSO collect information using schedules and tablets that are specially designed for such surveys. These officers visit a sample of villages and urban blocks, selected on a scientifically designed technique; list the houses and households, and; select a specified number of households to collect the detailed information by interviewing the head of household or a responsible and knowledgeable person of the household.
The State Governments also, on matching basis, collect information using the same methodology and schedules.
The Surveys conducted by NSSO in State Jammu and Kashmir has similar problems as that of the rest of the country. The problems of response in state Jammu and Kashmir is different in all geographical regions namely Kashmir region, Jammu region and Ladakh region.
As an officer of Indian Statistical Service (ISS), I have the privilege of visiting all the regions on different occasions in connection with the conducting of various surveys of NSSO and have seen a lot of things regarding response and behaviour of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The public response in rural areas is very good as compared to the response in urban areas of Jammu and Kashmir.
The rural areas treat NSSO officers as the guest and the in the urban areas people think us as the enemies of public. The urban areas of some districts of Jammu and Kashmir are very reluctant to provide correct information.
In the geographical regions of Ladakh the public response is not good as compared to Kashmir and Jammu region. This may be due to the lack of knowledge and publicity of NSSO surveys.
It was observed during the month of September, 2018 while on the inspection and supervision NSSO 76th round Survey in Ladakhregion many new things came to the surface. The problems of response was found very poor due to the lack of knowledge, illiteracy and female informant available at the time of collection.
It was found that maximum informants are females from ladakh region. These informants are non-knowledgeable, illiterate and coward. The cowardness of the informants is due to the low living conditions and heterogeneity of society.
The males of the Ladakh region are almost outstation for employment, business and other religious purpose. The male informant of Ladakh region are very reluctant as compared to female informant.
I want to share here an untoward incident recently that happened in Ladakh region 35Km away from city Leh regarding response and non-response while on supervision of SE sample in the sample village Khruoo of Leh town. The informantwas female and satisfactorily answering all the queries being posed by the field staff.
Meanwhile, another person in the vicinity started interfering and tried to suppress the informant and scolded at the field staff for asking nonsense questions.
Initially, the field staff showed maximum restraint as per my instructions but when the situation began to run out of control I had to intervene and gave a proper lesson to the person who was trying to disrupt the process of data collection.
Here it to be said that such episodes arise only due to lack of publicity of surveys in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
In contrast to it, the hospitality of Kashmir is observed while conducting surveys. People in the Valley welcome the field staff and offer warm treatment irrespective of poor or rich and urban or rural in addition to providing the asked information.
As you are aware that NSSO surveys were being conducting in Ladakh region from 2010 which results in coverage of NSSO surveys of whole Jammu and Kashmir both State and centre level. There are various difficulties in conducting surveys in State Jammu and Kashmir.
The difficulties in the collection of differ with respect to situations. These difficulties are of different types in rural and urban areas of different regions of Jammu and Kashmir. The major difficulties in collecting data in the rural areas of Jammu Kashmir is due to illiteracy, cultural constraints and language, large informal economy, low standards of response, heterogeneity of society and low living conditions.
On the other side, the difficulties of collecting data in urban areas of Jammu and Kashmir are cultural constraints, high consumption pattern, large informal economy, and inability of civil society, low standard of book keeping of establishments and enterprises and low propensity of respondents.
The biggest and foremost difficulty in Jammu and Kashmir is law and order problem such as low support from local government, local institute set of society and limited option for secondary sources.The climate of Jammu and Kashmir is also a big hurdle collection of statistics.
In respect of the household or an individual the quality of data collected is also very poor. This is due to lack of public awareness. People whenever approached by various statistical organisations either shows reluctance or under report or over report the data.
For instance in respect of consumer expenditure surveys the household over report the data while when approached for income or other factors they under report the data.
For the sake of quality assurance the public should be made well aware about the importance of data they provided by them and their role in planning and policy formulation of the nation.
At last I want to say that there is not any issue to any household, individual and establishment to provide correct or true information for the sack of good planning and research work. The only purpose of collecting quality data is planning and policy formulations for the betterment of society.
Author is Director, National Sample Survey Office, (Field Operations Division), Regional office, Srinagar