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National Statistics Day 2021: Remembering PC Mahalanobis, the Father of Indian Statistics

Professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis  was a phenomenal Indian statistician, scientist. (Image: Shutterstock)

Professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis was a phenomenal Indian statistician, scientist. (Image: Shutterstock)

National Statistics Day 2021: This year, due to COVID-19 pandemic, Government is organizing main event through video conferencing/ webcasting at NITI Aayog, New Delhi

National Statistics Day is an annual event observed on June 29. This government initiative aims at popularising the use of statistics in our daily lives as well as in creating national economic policies. In 2006, the decision to celebrate this day was taken by the Indian government to honour the father of Indian statistics, Professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis –a phenomenal Indian statistician, scientist. His incredible contribution to Indian Statistics is awe-inspiring.

The renowned scientist was born in Kolkata on June 29, 1893. This year’s National Statistics Day celebration marks the 128th birth anniversary of the Professor. He was the founder of the Indian Statistical Sciences (1931).

Professor was well-known for his several extraordinary contributions to statistics including Mahalanobis Distance (a statistical measure), large-scale sample surveys, besides his invention of a statistical method called ‘Fractile Graphical Analysis’ (which is meant to compare socio-economic conditions of diverse groups).

The Padma Vibhushan recipient was one of the members (1955-1967) in the Indian Planning Commission and was instrumental in designing India’s industrialization plans.


National Statistics Day is celebrated based on a theme, every year. The chosen theme is based on an issue that is of national relevance. National Statistics Day theme for 2020 was: Sustainable Development Goals -3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) and Sustainable Development Goals-5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls). In 2019, the theme was ‘Sustainable Development Goals’. This year’s theme is yet to be published by the ministry.

To emphasize the importance of statistics in the socio-economic framework, the National Statistics Day endeavours are directed towards educating, raising awareness among the public, and inspiring the younger generation.

The day is celebrated through various seminars, competitions to harp the relevance of statistics in national development. Those who make remarkable contributions to the field of applied and theoretical statistics are honoured by the Indian Ministry on the National Statistics Day.

The objective of statistics is not only to frame economic policies, but also find its utilities in everyday lives; for instance, during this time of pandemic, statistics is used to analyse data and frame treatment plans.

National Statistics Day needn’t be confused with the World Statistics Day date as the latter is celebrated every five years on October 20.


Government has been celebrating the Statistics Day, to popularise the use of Statistics in everyday life and sensitise the public as to how Statistics helps in shaping and framing policies. It has been designated as one of the Special Days to be celebrated at the national level and is celebrated on the birth anniversary of Late Prof. P C Mahalanobis, in recognition of his invaluable contribution in establishing the National Statistical System.

This year, due to COVID-19 pandemic, the main event of the Statistics Day, 2021 is being organized through Video Conferencing/ Webcasting at NITI Aayog, New Delhi.

The chief guest of the event is Rao Inderjit Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) and Ministry of Planning. Prof Bimal Kumar Roy, Chairman, National Statistical Commission (NSC); Dr. G. P. Samanta, Chief Statistician of India & Secretary, MoSPI; Prof. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, Director, Indian Statistical Institute; Pietro Gennari, Chief Statistician, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Renata Lok-Dessallien, UN Resident Coordinator, are also scheduled to address the participants on the occasion. Moreover, senior officers of Central/ State Governments and other stakeholders will also participate in the event through video conferencing/ webcasting.

On this occasion, MoSPI also recognizes the outstanding contribution for high quality research work in the field of applied and theoretical statistics benefiting the official statistical system.

This year, the winners of Prof PC Mahalanobis National Award in Official Statistics, 2021 and Prof C. R. Rao National Award for Young Statistician, 2021 will be announced during the event. The winners of ‘On the Spot Essay Writing Competition, 2021’ for Post Graduate Students on the subject relevant to statistics organized at All India level will also be felicitated.

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