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definition - national sample survey organisation

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National Sample Survey Organisation

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The National Sample Survey Organisation or NSSO, is an organization in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation of the Government of India. It is the largest organisation in India conducting regular socio-economic surveys.

Origin and functions of NSSO

The National Sample Survey (NSS), initiated in the year 1950, is a nation-wide, large-scale, continuous survey operation conducted in the form of successive rounds. It was established on the basis of a proposal from P.C. Mahalanobis to fill up data gaps for socio-economic planning and policy making through sample surveys.

In March 1970, the NSS was reorganised and all aspects of its work were brought under a single Government organisation, namely the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) under the overall direction of Governing Council to impart objectivity and autonomy in the matter of collection, processing and publication of the NSS data.

The Governing Council consisted of experts from within and outside the Government and was headed by an eminent economist/statistician and the member-Secretary of the Council was Director General and Chief Executive Officer of NSSO. The Governing Council was empowered to take all technical decisions in respect of the survey work, from planning of survey to release of survey results. After the formation of National Statistical Commission in 2005, the Governing Council of NSSO has been dissolved from 30.08.2006 and in its place Steering Committee of National Sample Surveys has been formed on 15 December 2006. The Steering Committee consisted of 8 Non-official and 8 Official members. The Non-official members are men of eminence in either of the fields of economics, statistics and social sciences. The Official Members are all senior officers of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Planning Commission and State Directorates of Economics & Statistics. The Director General and Chief Executive Officer (DG & CEO) of NSSO is the Convener of the Steering Committee.


The NSSO is headed by the Director General and Chief Executive Officer (DG&CEO) who is responsible for co-ordinating and supervising all activities of the organisation and is assisted by a small secretariat called Co-ordination and Publication Division (CPD). The NSSO has four divisions, namely, Survey Design and Research Division (SDRD), Field Operations Division (FOD), Data Processing Division (DPD) and Coordination & Publication Division (CPD). An Additional Director General heads each division except CPD, which is headed by a Deputy Director General.

Survey Design and Research Division(SDRD)

SDRD is located at Kolkata. It is responsible for

   * Planning of the Survey   * Formulation of sampling design   * Formulation of Concepts and Definitions   * Drawing of survey schedules   * Writing of instructions    * Preparation of validation and tabulation programmes.   * Finalisation of survey results and release of reports   * Providing technical guidance on sampling techniques to various official agencies.

Field Operations Division (FOD)

FOD has its headquarters at New Delhi and Agricultural Wing at Faridabad. It has 6 Zonal offices located at Bangalore, Kolkata, Guwahati, Jaipur, Lucknow and Nagpur, 48 Regional offices and 117 sub-regional offices.

Functions of FOD are:
   * Collection of data through (i) Annual Survey of Industries (ii) Socio-economic surveys, (iii) Price collection surveys   * Update of Urban Frame Survey blocks   * Sample check on area enumeration and crop cutting experiments and providing technical guidance to the states for improvement of crop statistics   * Providing in-service training to NSSO officials

Data Processing Division (DPD)

The Data Processing Division (DPD) of NSSO with Headquarters at Kolkata and six Data Processing Centres located at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi, Giridih & Nagpur provide complete IT solution from sample selection, software development to processing and tabulation of data canvassed through various socio-economic surveys of National Sample Survey Organisation.


Functions of DPD are:

   * Maintenance of Sampling Frame and update of Urban Frame Survey database   * Selection of samples and preparation of sample lists for conducting socio-economic surveys undertaken by the NSSO   * Preparation of Data Processing Training Manual and Organising All India and D. P. Centre wise Data Processing Training Workshops   * Receipt of schedules from field and their checking vis-à-vis sample list   * Scrutiny of filled-in schedules is undertaken during initial period of the survey for obtaining first hand knowledge of the quality of survey operation as well as for finalization of data processing system taking into consideration the field reality   * Manual checking of identification particulars and extensive scrutiny of schedules before Data- Entry, popularly known as pre-data entry scrutiny   * Data entry and verification of filled in schedules   * Validation of data through various stages covering both content check and coverage check, for which in-house validation packages are developed by the Information Technology (IT) Wing of the Division   * Organisation of Scrutiny Feedback Workshops in collaboration with SDRD and FOD   * Preparation of directory & multiplier files for estimation of parameters   * Tabulation of validated data as per approved Tabulation Plan for various schedules   * Processing & tabulation of monthly rural retail price schedules and release of quarterly bulletin   * Assistance to State Statistical Bureaus in processing of state sample data through facilities available at various centres of DPD to the States   * Providing training in application of computer and on data processing to the State Statistical Bureaus, ISS probationers, ISEC trainees etc. Besides in-house training programmes on computer and on administrative rules and procedures are organized for the staff and officers of DPD.

Coordination & Publication Division (CPD)

CPD is located at New Delhi and is responsible for

   * Coordinating the activities of all the Divisions of NSSO   * Dissemination of survey results and analysis through the biannual technical journal ‘Sarvekshana’ and ‘National Seminars’ to discuss the survey results   * Providing technical and secretarial assistance to Steering Committee of National Sample Surveys   * Supplying survey data of various rounds to individuals, researchers, research institutions and other private and govt. bodies   * Liaison with other Departments/ Ministries on various matters concerning NSSO   * Providing the technical and secretarial assistance to DG & CEO of NSSO
Procedures for obtaining NSS Reports
   * Copies of NSS Reports can be obtained from the Deputy Director General, SDRD, NSSO, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Mahalanobis Bhawan, 164 G.L.Tagore Road, Calcutta-700108 on payment basis.   * Copies of NSS Reports can also be obtained from the Deputy Director General, CPD, NSSO, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Sardar Patel Bhawan, Parliament Street, New Delhi-110001 on payment basis.   * To obtain the report(s) a Demand Draft in favour of Pay & Accounts Officer, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, payable at Kolkata/ New Delhi, is to be sent to the above noted offices at Kolkata or New Delhi respectively.   * The cost of survey report (hard/ soft copy) includes the cost of media but are exclusive of collection costs   * Inland subscribers willing to obtain the report by post must send the postal charges at following rates in addition to the cost of the reports

Speed Post Rs. 85 per copy

Registered Post Rs. 30 per copy

   * Subscribers from abroad will be intimated about the exact postal charges on receipt of their request for the NSS Report(s)


Procedures for obtaining NSSO Data

   Obtaining data on payment
   * Validated unit level data relating to various survey rounds are available on CD-ROMS which can be obtained from the Deputy Director General, Computer Centre, M/O Statistics and PI, East Block No. 10 R.K. Puram, New Delhi-110066 by remitting the price along with packaging and postal charges as well as giving an undertaking duly signed in a specified format. (Click to get the format of undertaking)   * The amount is to be remitted by way of demand draft drawn in favour of Pay & Accounts Officer, Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, payable at New Delhi.

Obtaining data free of cost by signing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

   * The approved research Institutes and Universities can obtain NSSO data free of cost for research/studies concerning national development and planning by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)   * A specific proposal containing the following details has to be sent to the Director General and Chief Executive Officer, NSSO by the intending Research Institute/ University:
  1. Name and address of the University/ Research Institute  2. Names, addresses of the Researchers/ Project investigators  3. Academic background of the researchers  4. Title and synopsis of the research project(s)  5. Specific requirements of NSSO data  6. Expected date of completion of the research project  7. Any other details considered relevant by the researcher
   * If the proposal is approved by NSSO, the data along with the relevant documentations will be provided free of cost after signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Obtaining data free of cost for research projects duly approved by NSSO

   * The approved research Institutes and Universities can obtain NSSO data free of cost for specific research projects by getting them approved by the NSSO   * The research Institute/University is required to sign an agreement in specified format for the purpose   * The Institute/University must send a proposal containing all the details (i to vii) above The University will sign an agreement instead of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)   * The data along with the necessary documentations will be made available to the researchers if the proposal is approved and the agreement is signed.


NSSO is involved in three types of surveys.

  1. Socio -economic surveys
  2. Annual Survey of Industries
  3. Agricultural surveys

In case of socio-economic surveys the entire responsibility of the survey from its design to release of the report is the responsibility of NSSO. In case of the other two activities the organisation is entrusted with collection of data from the field only.

The Socio-economic surveys involve Survey Design, Field Operations, Processing of data collected and releasing of the results based on surveys. The organisation is guided by a Steering Committee established by the Government. The selection of the subject of the survey, questionnaire design, instructions to field staff etc. are finalised by the Steering Committee. The subjects on which surveys are conducted vary over the years. Important subjects like, employment-unemployment and consumer expenditure, are regularly covered.The organisation is headed by a Director General and Chief Executive Officer.

NSSO consists of four divisions, each headed by an Additional Director General:

  1. Field Operation Division
  2. Data Processing Division
  3. Survey Design & Research Division
  4. Coordination & Publication Division

The head quarter of NSSO is located at New Delhi. It has a few regional headquarters also. The Field Operations Division has its headquarters at Delhi and Faridabad with a network of six zonal offices, 48 regional Offices and 117 sub-regional offices spread throughout the country. The Data Processing Division with its headquarters in Kolkata has Data Processing Centres at Delhi, Giridih, Nagpur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Kolkata. This division is entrusted with the responsibilities of data entry, processing and tabulation of socio-economic data. The Survey Design and Research Division having responsibility of designing the questionnaire, sample design, etc and analyse the results has its headquarters at Kolkata. The Coordination and Publication Division is located at New Delhi.

Apart from the regular agencies engaged in data collection, a few other organisations are also actively involved in information collection on educational variables through their large-scale household sample surveys among which the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) is the prominent one. The NSSO in its 52nd round (July 1995 - June 1996) carried out a nation wide survey on social consumption to ascertain the extent of utilisation of facilities in the field of Education and Health. The present survey was in continuation of the two surveys on social consumption carried out by the NSSO as a part of its 35 round (July 1980 - June 1981) and 42nd round (July 1986 - June 1987). The survey has generated few interesting indicators that are otherwise not available from regular sources. Literacy rate (15+ population), distribution of persons (aged 15 years and above) by level of education attainment, distribution of students of age group 5-24 by primary, middle, secondary/higher secondary and higher education, gross, net (classes I-V & VI-VIII) and age-specific (age 6-10 & 11–13 years) attendance ratio, proportion of students getting free education by level of education, average amount of per capita private expenditure on education and proportions of attending, attended and never attended children by age group are some of the important indicators. The entire document contains 17 statistical statements and a few charts.

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