National Statistics Day in India Date in the current year: June 29, 2024

National Statistics Day in India National Statistics Day is celebrated in India on June 29 every year. It commemorates the birthday Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, a renowned Indian statistician who is best known for introducing the Mahalanobis distance and founding the Indian Statistical Institute.

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis was born on June 29, 1893 in Bikrampur (then Bengal Presidency, now Bangladesh). He belonged to a prominent and wealthy Brahmin family. Before becoming a statistician, Mahalanobis was interested in physics and received his bachelor’s degree in the subject from the University of Calcutta in 1912.

In 1913, Mahalanobis left for England to continue his studies. It was there that he took an interest in mathematics and statistics. Upon returning to India, Mahalanobis started working at the physics department of the Presidency College, Kolkata. As his interest in statistics grew, he got some of his colleagues interested as well and established a statistical laboratory that became the Indian Statistical Institute in 1931.

When India finally achieved independence from Great Britain, Mahalanobis became a member of the Planning Commission created by the Indian government to develop and implement India’s Five-Year Plans. The Second Five-Year Plan implemented the Feldman–Mahalanobis model which focused on rapid industrialization and the development of the domestic consumer goods market.

Mahalanobis’s most important contributions to statistics are the Mahalanobis distance and his work on large-scale sample surveys. The Mahalanobis distance was introduced in 1936; it is a metric used to find out how much a point diverges from a distribution, based on measurements in multiple dimensions. Mahalanobis’s contributions to sample surveys include the concept of pilot surveys and the active use of sampling methods.

In 1968, Mahalanobis was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award after the Bharat Ratna, for his services to the country and contribution to science. He died on June 28, 1972, a day before his 79th birthday.

In 2006, the government of India declared Mahalanobis’s birthday as National Statistics Day to highlight his contribution to the development of statistics in the country, celebrate the achievements of Indian statisticians, and raise awareness of the role of statistics in socio-economic planning and everyday life. The first celebration took place on June 29, 2007.

On the occasion of National Statistics Day, government agencies, educational establishments, various organizations, and other stakeholders host seminars, conferences, discussions, contests, informational campaigns, and other events and activities for statisticians, everyone who is interested in statistics, and the general public.

Since 2009, National Statistics Day has had a new theme every year. Past themes have included Social Development, Child Statistics, Gender Statistics, Industrial Statistics, Administrative Statistics, Quality Assurance in Official Statistics, Data for Sustainable Development, and more.

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