Applications of Business Register and NSO



Altaf Hussain Haji

The Economic Census (EC) is a huge countrywide exercise for generating data on all economic activities.  It is also called the Business Register.  The Economic Census is the complete count of all non-farm economic establishments and units located within the geographical boundary of a country. The units may be involved in any economic activity either related to non-farm agricultural or non-agricultural sectors of the economy engaged in production or distribution of goods and services but not for the sole purpose of own-consumption excluding non-farm agricultural crop production and plantation.

As we know that the Economic Census gives important data of the state of the economy, prospects and the policy challenges. The Economic Census serves the requirements that determine the magnitude and spread of the economic units at the disaggregated level at planning and prepare the update Business register. The Business register will be an economic sampling frame and master sample for follow-up enterprise surveys where advance information and missing information is not available or possible in the economic census. There are many other uses of the economic census in the planning and policy formulation.

Some of the uses of the economic census are as under:

  • To create and develop a map of economic activities and the spatial
  • To find out detail information on the structure of economy i.e. disaggregated
    information on operational and structural variables of the establishments in
    the country.
  • To measure the diversity of non-farm economic activities in its major dimensions
  • To provide updates on units actually operative to concerned registering/licensing authorities, most of whom have no mechanism to live registers

In India, a fairly reasonable database exists for the Agriculture Sector whereas such data for the non-agricultural sector is not adequate. Keeping in mind the importance of the nonagricultural sector in the economy and the non-availability of the basic frame for adoption in various sampling techniques for collection of data and estimation of various parameters, the Economic Census was felt necessary.

The economic census in the country is a mandate of the National Statistical Office (NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MOSPI) government of India.  The NSO has the creation of a database for various sectors of the economy and its periodic updating so as to meet the requirements of the planners for sound and systematic planning both at the macro as well as micro-level.

 The origin and history of conducting Economic census in India started in 1976.   In 1976, the Government of India launched a planning scheme called “Economic Census and Surveys”. In 1977 Central Statistical Organization conducted a first economic census in collaboration with Directorate of Economics & Statistics [DES] in the States/Union Territories. Since the economic censuses of 1980 and 1990 were integrated with the house listing operations of the population census. The fourth Economic Census, fifth   Economic Census and sixth Economic Census were conducted 1998, 2005 and 2013 respectively.

All other economic censuses were conducted by the Directorates of Economics and Statistics of the states under the overall guidance and support of the Central Statistical Office (CSO).

The Seventh Economic Census data collection is under processes in Jammu and Kashmir. This census is different from all other six censuses in terms of collection of data and the use of technology with the aim to be paperless and bring out timely results in a short spell of time. The economic census also gives us employment data. The employment data is very important data sources for decision making.

It is to mention here that the task force made by the government of India and given various recommendations in its report during 2017 for improving employment data of Economic census.  The report also recommended that the Economic Census should be conducted every three years, beginning with the seventh economic census.

Jammu and Kashmir is also ready to collect the data on economic census through the Common Service Centers (CSCs) e-governance service India limited through the department of Science and Technology Jammu and Kashmir government under the supervision of the regional office of National Statistical Office (NSO), Field Operations Division, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has already constituted state-level coordination committee for smooth conduct of seventh economic census with the terms of reference to monitor preparedness, progress and hurdles in the conduct of seventh economic census on regular basis and ensure complete coverage of the data canvassed through validation against existing data basses such as state business register. The work of 7th economic census is almost near compilation in Jammu and Kashmir and its provisional results will be available near future for policy-making purposes of various indicators of the non-agriculture sector including indicators for Sustainable development goals.

As you are aware that the Field Operations Division (FOD) of the National Statistical Office (NSO) is responsible for conducting of large scale sample surveys in diverse fields. The National Statistical Office (NSO), Field Operations Division has been entrusted with the work of training, monitoring and supervision in the Economic Census and has also been directed to develop appropriate implementation framework along with Common Service Centre (CSC). The main role of NSO during conducting of the seventh economic census was including to conduct the training of trainers for effective capacity building of field enumerators and supervisors engaged by CSC, top provides support and supervision in the training of enumerators and supervisors conducted by CSC at district and sub-district level, to effective coordination with State government and district administration to and facilitate CSC SPV for smooth conduct of fieldwork of Seventh economic census,  etc.

The supervision of NSO  for the seventh economic census is incumbent upon us to ensure quality aspect for the enumeration process.   As we know that Quality is a very important issue for quality data. Since the fourth goal of the agenda of sustainable development goals (SDG’s) is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality and promote opportunities for all with the targets to be achieved by 2030.  Keeping in mind the quality of the data. National Statistical Office (NSO) has an important role in the supervision of the collection of data.

On behalf of the Field Operations Division of NSO and an officer of Indian Statistical Service (ISS), it is a duty to aware that all stakeholder to come forward for helping to obtain quality data which is used for development and wellbeing of the nation. The reliable data, obtained with the cooperation of the respondent, will help the government in measuring the contribution of economic activities.  Thus, the role of the respondent in the survey operations of the FOD is crucial and will contribute towards improving the quality of information. The Government, therefore, appeals to you to extend your kind cooperation to spare some of your valuable time to provide the correct and complete information.  The information so provided by you will go a long way in helping the government to improve the lives of the public with concrete plans and policies based on hard facts.

Altaf Hussain Haji, ISS, is Deputy Director General at National Statistical Office, State Head HP, based in Shimla. He can be contacted on


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