ISI - Useful Information

The First Indian Statistical Conference

The first Indian Statistical conference was held in Calcutta in January 1938. R.A. Fisher was the President of the conference. Further, in next five years, similar conferences were organized by the Indian Statistical Institute. A separate section for mathematics and statistics was created in 1942 Indian Science Congress with Mahabalonis as the sectional President. In 1945, a separate section in statistics was created. In this way, Statistics gradually won recognition in India.

Statistical Training in India

Mahalanobis realized the importance of statistical training in India and hence established the Indian Statistical Institute. During 1932-39 about 150 government personnels from different corners of the country come to ISI on deputation for statistical training. A Research and Training School was set up in the Institute under the leadership of C.R. Rao. A post-graduate department of Statistics was also established in Calcutta University in 1941.

The first exploratory sample survey in India was undertaken under the technical guidance of Mahalanobis as early as in 1937 for improving estimates of jute crop. This study won the praise of R.A. Fisher, who also submitted a memorandum, in 1938, to the Government of India supporting statistical studies in India; he wrote “…everything depends on the future of the Statistical Institute”.

Later in 1948, in west Bengal the surveys were done for yield estimation of paddy crops. Further this practice follows up in other parts of the country for different surveys.

In 1945, an important project on population data began. The tabulation programme of the 1941 Census of India had been severely curtailed as an economy measure. Fortunately, at the direction of M.W.M. Yeates, Census Commissioner, a 2% sample of the individual census slips had been preserved, and the Institute was asked by the Government to reconstruct age and occupation tables on the basis of this sample.

This involved the transfer of information (originally recorded in many different languages) to about 7 million punched cards and then tabulating the results. As some sample slips had been incorrectly drawn and some were missing, it became necessary to devise special methods of estimation. D.B. Lahiri provided leadership in this project, which was successfully completed in 1950.

The theoretical statistics gained momentum in India from the projects and surveys undertaken by the Indian Statistical Institute. Mahalanobis’ work on anthropometry led to the development of the D 2 statistic for measuring population affinities. This, in turn, culminated in the proof by R.C. Bose and S.N. Roy that the sampling distribution of the studentised D 2 is a non-central F-distribution. S.N. Roy and C.R. Rao made profound contributions to multivariate analysis and R.C. Bose to the construction of designs. The institute has brought its first computer in 1956 named Hollerith Electronic Computer (HEC-2M). This was the first computer in India.

The Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) has also excelled in Statistical Quality Control (SQC). The institute has advised the Indian government to take adequate measures for introducing SQC method in Indian Industries.

Role in National Planning

The Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) has been asked by Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1940 to prepare statistics on the reports of National Planning Committee. Later in 1949 after gaining independence, Prof. Mahalanobis was asked by Pt. Nehru to work as Honorary Statistical Adviser to the Cabinet, Government of India. On March 17, 1955 Prof. Mahalanobis submitted Draft – Plan Frame to the Government which was adopted as basic standard for the preparation of the Second Five Year Plan of India. The Institute has released its first journal titled ‘Sankhya’ in 1933. ‘Sankhya’ the Indian Journal of Statistics soon recognized as a leading International Journal for Statistics.

The Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) has started training of statistician in 1960 and hence started teaching of B.Stat. and M.Stat. programmes on August 16, 1960. Prof. Mahabalonis and J.B.S. Haldane have prepared the course curriculum structure of these programmes. Both the programmes and the institute become so popular that Gertrude Cox has adopted the ISI as model institute for setting up of Institute of Statistics in United States of America. Thus within three decades of establishments of ISI in India, statistics has become one of the key technology. Today the institute not only teaches graduate and post graduate programmes but also offers research facilities as its hard core academics. Besides teaching statistics the institute also offers programme in mathematics, computing etc.

The student who get admission into this prestigious institute learn other allied discipline like physics, chemistry, biology and social sciences besides learning statistics / mathematics / computing etc.

The Indian Statistical Institute works in close cooperation with government and government agencies and helps on preparing data analysis on different issues like, agriculture, energy, housing, industry etc. The statistical data helps the government in making better plans for the growth and development of the country.

SANKHYA – The Indian Journal of Statistics

The Indian Journal of Statistics was founded by Prof. Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis in 1933. Prof. Mahalanobis was editor of SANKHYA till his death. At present Arup Bose, Probal Chaudhary and R.L.Karandikar are editors of the magazine.

Sankhya publishes research articles in the broad areas of Applied Statistics, Mathematical Statistics and Probability.

Reviews and discussion articles in areas of current research activity are also published.

Each volume has four parts which come out in February, May, August and November.

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