Cabinet approves bill to cover J&K under Statistics Act

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposed amendment to the Statistics Act that will enable the central government to collect data, including demographics, in Jammu and Kashmir as the existing law didn’t apply to the state that has its own Constitution.

The proposed bill was approved at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here and would now be introduced in Parliament, according to an official statement.

It extends the jurisdiction of the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008, to Jammu and Kashmir on statistics on economics, demographic, social, scientific and environmental aspects. The state has its own Jammu and Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010, which is almost a replica of the central legislation.

But the state act did not allow jurisdiction to be exercised by the central government in Jammu and Kashmir and did not extend to statistical subjects falling in the Union List of the Consitution. Data from the state was currently being captured through the National Statistical Survey Organisation.

This, the statement said, had created a “legislative vacuum”.

“The amendment is intended to address this vacuum,” it said.

The Jammu and Kashmir legislature has powers to enact laws on statistics that falls under the Concurrent List and residuary powers reserved for the state under the Constitution.

The proposed amendment will also provide for appointing a nodal officer at the Centre and in each state and Union Territory to effectively coordinate data collection activities and provide consultation to government departments for avoiding unnecessary duplication, the statement said. The move is intended to help improve the country’s statistical data collection.