Data is the collection of measurement and facts and a tool that help an individual or a group of individuals reach a sound conclusion by providing them with some information. It helps the analyst understand, analyze, and interpret different socio-economic problems like unemployment, poverty, inflation, etc. Besides understanding the issues, it also helps in determining the reasons behind the problem to find possible solutions for them. Data not only includes theoretical information but some numerical facts too that can support the information. There are two types of data; viz., primary data and secondary data.
The data already in existence which has been previously collected by someone else for other purposes is known as secondary data. It does not include any real-time data as the research has already been done on that information. However, the cost of collecting secondary data is less. As the data has already been collected in the past, it can be found in refined form. The accuracy and reliability of secondary data is relatively less than the primary data. The chances of finding the exact information or data specific to the researcher’s needs are less. However, the time required to collect secondary data is short and hence is a quick and easy process. Two of the important sources of secondary data are the Census of India and the Reports and Publications of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).
Important Sources of Secondary Data
1. Census of India:
A decennial publication of the Government of India which is published by the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India is known as Census of India. The Census is being conducted on regular basis every 10 years since 1881, and the first Census after Independence was held in 1951. It is a comprehensive source of data and is related to the population size and different aspects of demographic changes in India. The Census of India mainly includes statistical information on some parameters, such as:
- State of Literacy
- Density of Population
- Population Projections
- Sex Composition of Population, and
- Size, Growth Rate, and Distribution of Population in India
Statistical information on the above-stated parameters relates to a country as a whole and different states and union territories of the country. Hence it can be concluded that the Census of India is a source of secondary data which is a comprehensive inquiry into the size of the population and its related parameters of change covering every household of the country. The most recent Census of India was performed in 2011. It was the 15th census since 1881 and the 7th after independence in 1947.
2. Reports and Publications of National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO):
Another important source of collecting secondary data is Reports and Publications of NSSO. It is a government organisation that comes under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. The organisation helps in collecting data by conducting regular sample surveys for collection of basic statistical information related to different economic activities in rural and urban parts of the country. For example, the 78th round of NSSO started from 1st January 2020 for the collection of data on ‘Domestic Tourism Expenditure’ and ‘Multiple Indicators’. Reports and Publications of NSSO mainly offer statistical information on different parameters of economic change such as:
- Housing Conditions and Migration with special emphasis
- Land and Livestock Holdings
- Employment and Unemployment Status in India
- Consumer Expenditure in India (which includes level and pattern of consumer expenditure of diverse categories of people, and
- Sources of Household Income in India
Note: Unlike Census of India source of collecting secondary data, the Reports and Publications of NSSO are prepared on the basis of ‘sample’ study of the universe or population.