सीधे मुख्य सामग्री पर जाएं

Data analytics: How scientific enquiry process impacts quality of policy research

By IMPRI Team 

Given the multidimensionality of policy and impact research, tech-driven policy prescriptions are playing a dominant role in the 21st century. As such, data analytics have become integral in this space. IMPRI Generation Alpha Data Centre (GenAlphaDC), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute New Delhi has successfully conducted a #WebPolicyTalk 6-Week Immersive Online Hands-on Certificate Training Course on Data Analytics for Policy Research, spanning over 6-consecutive Saturdays from October 15th to November 19th, 2022. Along with this, datasets for hands-on learning were also provided for data analysis and learning.
Participants were required to make a submission for evaluation at the end of the course, to obtain the certificate. This course comprised hands-on data learning sessions and various expert sessions on data discourses. The course especially catered to data and policy enthusiasts – including students, professionals, researchers, and other individuals looking for a comprehensive foundation for data-based policy research. The training programme was conducted by an expert group of academicians which included Prof Nilanjan Banik, Professor and Program Director (BA, Economics and Finance) at Mahindra University, Hyderabad; Prof Utpal K. De, Professor, Department of Economics at North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong and a Visiting Professor at IMPRI.
Others included Prof Vibhuti Patel, Visiting Professor, IMPRI and a Former Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai; Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Associate Professor, Economics at Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan and a Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI; Prof Nalin Bharti, Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Patna and a Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI; Prof Gummadi Sridevi, Professor, School of Economics, University of Hyderabad and Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI; Dr Amar Jesani, Independent Researcher and Teacher (Bioethics and Public Health) and Editor of Indian Journal of Medical Ethics; Dr Ismail Haque, Fellow, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and a Visiting Fellow at IMPRI; Dr Arjun Kumar Director, IMPRI.

Day 1 | October 15, 2022

The first day started with a brief introduction of the panellists. Post the introduction, Prof Nilanjan Banik took over and commenced the training programme. He started by introducing concepts of Distribution Functions, and Normal Distributions, with explanations about how to interpret normal distribution tables. He explained the underlying concepts of class intervals and population density functions among others. Prof Banik used a data set of property prices in order to provide a more hands-on example. This hands-on session was followed by an insightful session on “Research Ethics in Primary Data Collection and Analysis”.
The speaker for the session was Dr Amar Jesani, who delved into the importance of ethics in research, including the protection of participants, the relevance of Research Ethics Frameworks and Research Integrity (prevention of misconduct in research). He mentioned 8 critical benchmarks of ethical research: 1.) Social Value; 2.) Scientific Validity; 3.) Favourable Risk Benefit Ratio; 4.) Fair Selection of Study Population; 5.) Informed Consent; 6.) Redirect for Participants and Communities; 7.) Independent Review; 8.) Collaborative Partnerships. He then went on to individually explain these benchmarks.

Day 2 | October 22, 2022

The second day began with an introduction to Sampling and Analysis by Prof Utpal De. In order to understand these concepts better, he talked about the various steps required in conducting a sample survey. He also discussed the various types of sampling methods: Simple random sampling, Systematic Sampling, Stratified Random Sampling, Two-Stage Sampling, Cluster Sampling, Multi-Stage Sampling and the like. This was followed by a discussion on the Statistical Systems in India and an Introduction to Various Official and Other Databases, India’s Macroeconomic and Financial Data by Dr Arjun Kumar and Ms Anshula Mehta, Senior Assistant Director at IMPRI. They talked about various sources of official data and what sources one can use for research work. These included the Government System of Scrutiny, Annual Report of Ministry, Program data and dashboard, Press Information Bureau (PIB), Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Report, Parliamentary Committee Report and NITI Aayog. The issues and challenges with respect to the official data available were also discussed.
Problems of credibility, reliability and timeliness were discussed. Discrepancies in macroeconomic data, with respect to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Banking and National Accounts pose another such challenge. As for Unemployment, Poverty and Inequality, methodological and estimation issues have been observed. Additionally, problems with the public availability of data have also been seen. This enriching discussion was followed by a session on Introduction to Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping and Visualisation of Geocoded data by Dr Ismail Haque. A GIS is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage and present all types of geographically referenced or spatial data. It helps in mapping quantities, densities and trajectories. He explained the various types of GIS Data, predominantly the Vector Data Model and Raster Data Model. Dr Haque gave the participants a walkthrough of the QGIS software interface. He explained how to show the rental housing distribution on a map of Bangalore using various features of the software.

Day 3 | October 29, 2022

The third day started with Prof Banik delving into concepts of the standard normal distribution (Z Distribution), the T-tests, and the differences between these, again, with the use of data sets. He showed how to find out variance, mean, the P value, the test statistic and explained what the different components of the test statistic meant, such as the degrees of freedom, 2-tail and 1-tail tests, among others. After a comprehensive analysis of the data set, he moved on to provide some homework to the trainees. This was followed by an explanation of the concept of hypothesis testing which is an integral part of data analysis, and how the null hypothesis and alternate hypothesis will be different for two-tailed tests and one-tailed tests respectively. The P value, he explained, shows the probability that the null hypothesis is true. After explaining every new concept, Prof Banik ensured that the session was open for questions in order to clear doubts.
His session was followed by another session titled ‘Time Series Analysis: A Primer’, conducted by Prof Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, who tried to showcase how to run a regression analysis using time series data using a particular data set. Here he focused mainly on univariate time series models. He briefly explained the concept of regression analysis and then moved on to explain the stationarity of a time series model. Both theoretically and practically, he showed how stationarity influences a regression analysis, the concepts of weak stationary and non-stationary processes. After this, he explained the different tests for stationarity: the graphical approach, the Autocorrelation Function and Correlogram, the Unit Root Test and the Dickey-Fuller Test. He then explained what a Spurious Regression Problem is (when there is a high R2 value greater than the Durbin Watson D Statistic), and how such a regression problem does not have practical policy relevance. He showed the different ways to prevent the Spurious Regression Problem, such as Cointegration and the Engle-Granger Theorem. Using EViews, Prof Chattopadhyay then showed the trainees how to run the above-mentioned regression tests, explaining the various components present in them.

Day 4 | November 5, 2022

The fourth day commenced with Prof Banik discussing the homework given to the trainees the previous day. He then discussed how to frame the objectives and the claims before testing a hypothesis and the two ways to capture causality. He explained what it meant to standardise the data and how to do it using Excel. Carefully explaining the differences between correlation and regression, he noted the importance of distinguishing between the two during data analysis. The major difference, he showed, is in the concept of linearity. Using the data analysis tools in Excel, he individually explained the various concepts of the ANOVA table, Residual Output and the R square among others, based on a data set of property prices. The objective was to check if the various variables such as “Square Feet”, “Year Built”, “Lot Size” etc, influence the prices of the properties, that is, which variables are statistically significant. Following Prof Banik, a new session commenced under Prof Vibhuti Patel, titled “Feminist Principles in Scientific Inquiry”.
The session primarily catered to the need for being gender-responsive while conducting a scientific enquiry since the process itself impacts the result of the research. She started by outlining the broader question of feminist principles in research: the need to reduce interviewer bias, increase the response rate, create more interactive and empowering experiences, facilitate trust while conducting interviews on sensitive issues such as domestic violence, caste-based exclusion, discrimination, among others and the need of ensuring complete knowledge. Feminist perspectives have immense transformative potential in terms of driving social change, she mentioned. It can validate the experiences of women by mainstreaming the gender perspective. However, she mentioned how there needs to be the use of “conscious subjectivity”, that inherently takes into consideration the privileged ideal position of the researcher. As such, there needs to be a sense of solidarity towards the subject, reducing the distance between the researcher and the researched. She then talked about the relevance of the Feminist Standpoint Theory in scientific Inquiry: that one’s social location limits their base of knowledge.
Knowledge generated about women by “experts” cannot be in isolation, that is, without the active participation of women themselves. Such complete research reports include the Sharmashakti Report, Time Use Survey among others, she noted. The next part of her presentation was about power relations: how dominant ideology subjugates the knowledge of the marginalised. She noted that one of the leading concerns of feminist perspectives is to bring about knowledge of the marginalised ideology, which often gets encapsulated within the elitist androcentric intellectual legacy. Hence within feminist perspectives, there is a need to challenge existing power structures in order to empower the subaltern. Traditional Research Methods of the 1950s till the 1970s were gender-blind, and were guided by the Role Conflict Theory, often giving into patriarchal explanations. She traced back the roots of feminist perspectives in economic research and surveys in India, elaborating on how various paid and unpaid work came to be recognised over the years.
She reiterates the famous 1984 quote, “Women constitute ½ of the world’s population, do ⅔ of the world’s work and get 1/10 of the world’s income and own 1/100 of the world’s wealth.” Prof Patel emphasised the importance of qualitative techniques while encountering gender issues. Lastly, she explained the Grounded Theory, which refers to systematic inductive methods that use particular facts to form general rules and principles. These principles are used to conduct qualitative research that develops theory and explains the studied empirical phenomena. The Grounded Theory has become a game changer in conducting feminist surveys in India. She concluded by briefly summing up the significance of feminist principles and perspectives in research and scientific inquiry and noted that we still have a long way to go in this regard. With this, the sessions for day 4 ended.

Day 5 | November 12, 2022

The fifth day was proceeded by Prof Nilanjan Banik, who tried to emancipate the gathered audience over the materials to be discussed. He continued where he left off in the previous session. He explained the concept of errors and how it is very necessary to minimize errors when estimating values based on some variables. The errors from various deviations such as moments and skewness can be calculated by various methods. He then proceeded to explain an error from a linear regression function, by explaining various factors involved such as stochastic variables. The methodology used in the calculation was explained and how the interplay of various factors like beta and collinearity are relevant. In order to verify certain conditions, the Jarque Bera Statistics was briefly explained along with the general techniques that are used. Skewness was explained next with a few examples. A data set was taken to practically explain the whole process using variables that consisted of family income and family consumption.
The conditional mean was calculated using the data set, plotted on axes. It is very important to minimize the sum of squares of errors which can be calculated with the help of some formulas. Although these are mathematical, the results are calculated based on certain assumptions which were discussed. The various interpretation of different results was also discussed ahead. Next up, the data set shared previously is used to calculate the various results that have been discussed theoretically so far, such as t-test, error from the regression equation, ESS, RSS, TSS, and so on, over an excel sheet for practical understanding. These results were interpreted by Prof. Nilanjan for a better understanding of their significance. Next, the next session was preceded by Dr Vibhuti Patel, wherein the floor was made open for questions on the session which talked about Feminism in Data Analytics. She started off talking briefly about the ShramShakti Report. She then discussed the time-use survey introduced by the Government of India and the NSSO.
She further emphasized the involvement of feminist ideology in various fields such as sociology, psychology, and the very power structure in general. The predetermined bias and background can be influential in various decision-making scenarios. Various institutions should consider these aspects when looking into data structures. She further talked about her experience in the field of feminism and data analytics, participating and researching in various events and organizations. The session was then taken over by Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay. He began by explaining the concept of forecasting as a continuation of time series analysis, the method used in the process which is ARIMA. The AR model, its properties, and the result derived were explained using various assumptions and formulations for the calculation of ARIMA. Similarly, the MA model, its properties, and the result derived were explained keeping in mind the various assumptions and using specific formulations.
Further, the process and result of the ARMA model were explained. The PACF used in the AR and MA process was discussed along with the factors that lead to its requirement. He then emphasized the fact that it is very important to identify the type of regression function to select any particular method for forecasting, based on various characteristics. Next, the Box Jenkins method for forecasting was explained, which uses various models in its process. This was followed by the evaluation of forecasts, explaining the assumptions before calculations, and the conditions for selecting a particular model. Finally, the practicality of the theory being discussed was dealt with, with the help of EViews and importing the data set from excel.

Day 6 | November 19, 2022

Day 6 began with the session headed by Prof Nilanjan Banik. He started briefly explaining the materials of the previous session. He continued with the assumptions that are taken into account while finding errors. He proceeded with the data set that he left in the previous session, starting with the F-test and continuing further on the theories and deriving the results that were discussed in the previous sessions with the help of Excel. He then worked on a new data set to calculate multicollinearity with the help of EViews using regression and other statistical functions. He then proceeded with the calculation and explanation of Auto Correlation taking into account a data set. Continuing with the data set he then explained the concept of heteroskedasticity.
The session was then proceeded by Prof. Nalin Bharti. He began with the concept of different types of Tariff data. To ease the explanation, he took certain data sets from the Government of India websites on trade and statistics, comparing different commodities exported and imported. This was continued forward to the concept of Data Analysis of Import Export using SMART Model. It started with the explanation of WITTS Global Tariff Cuts and Trade Simulator and the modules under it, along with explaining the modules individually to show their applicability with examples for ease of understanding. The tariffs were also explained with the help of an interactive video which was a simulation tutorial, the data set from the simulation was imported into Excel for further analysis.
The session was then taken over by Prof. Gummadi Sridevi who presented on the topic, Ethics in Research. She started by emphasizing the fact that ethics in data collection is important to mitigate any bias that may arise, and be inclusive to all the groups concerned over the field of research. Primary data is more of an observatory phenomenon rather than being entirely subjective, showing the importance of being careful while collecting data to remove any sort of unwanted and unethical process. She then discussed the various field research methods. She proceeded to talk about the development of the topic of ethics in data and research, the involvement of various institutes and organizations, and her personal experiences in the particular field, combined with examples for better understanding.
Various experiments related to the study of ethics in the research were also taken into the discussion to portray results and impute their significance in modern research and data collection, focussing on proper information dispatch. The importance of the context of research is also a grey area when we talk about ethics, defining the roles of concerned parties, and the purpose to remove any sort of discrepancy and bias. There should be significant clarity of the personnel and institution involved in the field of particular research, the responsibilities of a researcher, and the proof of data sets. A suitable example to explain the concept of ethics was explained, taking into account a study conducted in a distant village in the country.
Acknowledgement: Aaswash Mahanta, Soham Biswas and Tripta Behara, research interns at IMPRI



हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

ગુજરાતના સ્થાપના દિવસે યાદ કરીએ ભારતના વિશ્વપ્રસિદ્ધ ગુજરાતી પુરાતત્વવિદ્ ને

- ગૌરાંગ જાની*  આજે કોઈ ગુજરાતી એ કલ્પના પણ ન કરી શકે કે વર્ષ ૧૮૩૯ માં જૂનાગઢમાં જન્મેલા એક ગુજરાતી વિશ્વ પ્રસિદ્ધ બની શકે! પણ આપણે એ ગુજરાતીને કદાચ વિસરી ગયા છીએ જેમણે ગિરનારના અશોક શિલાલેખને દોઢસો વર્ષ પૂર્વે ઉકેલી આપ્યો.આ વિદ્વાન એટલે ભગવાનલાલ ઈન્દ્રજી. ૭ નવેમ્બર, ૧૮૩૯ ના દિવસે જૂનાગઢના પ્રશ્નોરા નાગર બ્રાહ્મણ પરિવારમાં તેમનો જન્મ થયો હતો. જૂનાગઢના એ સમયે અંગ્રેજી શિક્ષણની સગવડ ન હોવાને કારણે તેમને અંગ્રેજી ભાષાનું જ્ઞાન ન હતું પણ પાછળથી તેમણે ખપ પૂરતું અંગ્રેજી જાણી લીધું હતું.

Under Modi, democracy is regressing and economy is also growing slowly

By Avyaan Sharma*   India is "the largest democracy in the world", but now its democracy is regressing and its economy is also growing slowly. What has PM Modi's ten years in power brought us? Unemployment remains high. Joblessness is particularly high among India's youth - with those aged 15 to 29 making up a staggering 83% of all unemployed people in India, according to the "India Employment Report 2024", published last month by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Institute of Human Development (IHD). The BJP-led government did not provide jobs to two crore youth in a year as was promised by Modi in the run up to the 2014 general elections.

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

ભારતમાં જિસસ ક્રાઈસ્ટના દર્શન, ખ્રિસ્તી ધર્મના આગમનને કારણે સમાજ વ્યવસ્થામાં પરિવર્તન

- ઉત્તમ પરમાર  મારી કિશોર અવસ્થામાં કેટલાક ચિત્રો અને મૂર્તિઓએ હૃદયમાં એવું સ્થાન જમાવ્યું છે કે આજદિન પર્યંત  ઉત્તરોઉત્તર વિકસતું જ રહ્યું છે. પ્રેમ કરુણાના મૂર્તિમંત અવતાર  જિસસ ક્રાઈસ્ટને વધુસ્તંભે ચઢાવેલી મૂર્તિ  મારી કોઈપણ ધર્મ વિશેની સમજ નહોતી ત્યારથી મારા હૃદયમાં સ્થાપિત થયેલી છે. મારા ઘરની દિવાલ પર વધસ્તંભે ચઢેલા જીસસની પ્રતિમા જોઈને કોઈ મને પૂછી બેસતું કે તું ક્રિશ્ચન છે?

रैंकिंग: अधिकांश भारतीय विश्वविद्यालयों का स्तर बहुत गिरा, इस साल भी यह गिरवाट जारी

- प्रमोद रंजन*  अप्रैल, 2024 में भारतीय विश्वविद्यालयों की अंतर्राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर उच्च रैंकिंग की चर्चा रही। मीडिया ने इसका उत्सव मनाया। लेकिन स्थिति इसके विपरीत है। वैश्विक विश्वविद्यालय रैंकिग में अच्छा स्थान मिलने की खबरें, कुछ संस्थानों को इक्का-दुक्का विषयों में मिले रैंक के आधार पर चुनिंदा ढंग से प्रकाशित की गईं थीं। वास्तविकता यह है कि हाल के वर्षों में हमारे अधिकांश विश्वविद्यालयों का स्तर बहुत गिर गया है। इस साल भी यह गिरवाट जारी रही है।

नोएडा में मैन्युअल स्कैवेंजर्स की मौत: परिवारों को मुआवजा नहीं, प्राधिकरण ने एफआईआर नहीं की

- अरुण खोटे, संजीव कुमार*  गत एक सप्ताह में, उत्तर प्रदेश में सीवर/सेप्टि क टैंक सफाई कर्मियों की सफाई के दौरान सेप्टिक टैंक में मौत। 2 मई, 2024 को, लखनऊ के वज़ीरगजं क्षेत्र में एक सेवर लाइन की सफाई करते समय शोब्रान यादव, 56, और उनके पत्रु सशुील यादव, 28, घटुन से हुई मौत। एक और घटना 3 मई 2024 को नोएडा, सेक्टर 26 में एक घर में सेप्टि क टैंक को सफाई करते समय दो सफाई कर्मचर्मारी नूनी मडंल, 36 और कोकन मडंल जिसे तपन मडंल के नाम से जानते हैं, की मौत हो गई। ये सफाई कर्मचर्मारी बंगाल के मालदा जिले के निवासी थे और नोएडा सेक्टर 9 में रहते थे। कोकन मडंल अपनी पत्नी अनीता मडंल के साथ रहते थे। इनके तीन स्कूल जाने वाले बच्चे हैं जो बंगाल में रहते हैं। नूनी मडंल अपनी पत्नी लिलिका मडंल और अपने पत्रु सजुान के साथ किराए पर झग्गी में रहते थे। वे दैनिक मजदरूी और सफाई कर्मचर्मारी के रूप में काम करते थे।

प्राचीन भारत के लोकायत संप्रदाय ने कुछ परजीवियों की खूब खबर ली: प्रमुख प्रस्थापनायें

- राणा सिंह   भारत में परजीवियों का एक विशाल समूह है जो बोलता है कि “सब कुछ माया है”,  लेकिन व्यवहार में यह समूह सारी जिंदगी इसी “माया” के पीछे पागल रहता है।  प्राचीन भारत के लोकायत संप्रदाय ने इन परजीवियों की खूब खबर ली थी।

बिहार के ऐतिहासिक विक्रमशिला विश्वविद्यालय के खंडहरों की परिक्रमा का रोमांचक अवसर

- सुमन्त शरण  कुछ दिन पहले एक सुदूर ग्रामीण अंचल (पीरपैंती)  से तकरीबन डेढ़-दो घंटे की दूरी पर अवस्थित ऐतिहासिक बौद्ध विक्रमशिला विश्वविद्यालय (के अवशेषों) की परिक्रमा का अवसर मिला। विक्रमशीला विश्वविद्यालय की स्थापना पाल वंश के राजा धर्मपाल ने की थी। 8वीं शताब्दी से 12वीं शताब्दी के अंत तक यह विश्वविद्यालय भारत के प्रमुख शिक्षा केंद्रों में से एक हुआ करता था। कहा जाता है कि यह अपने कुछेक अत्यंत अनूठे नवाचार के चलते उस समय नालंदा विश्वविद्यालय का सबसे बड़ा प्रतिस्पर्धी था। हालांकि, मान्यता यह भी है कि अल्प अवधि के लिए दोनों विश्वविद्यालय के बीच शिक्षण एवं प्रबंधन के क्षेत्रों में घनिष्ठ पारस्परिक संबंध एवं शिक्षकों के आदान-प्रदान का सिलसिला भी रहा था। यह विश्वविद्यालय तंत्रशास्त्र की पढ़ाई के लिए सबसे ज्यादा विख्यात था। इस विषय का एक सबसे विख्यात छात्र अतीसा दीपनकरा था, जो बाद में तिब्बत जाकर बौद्ध हो गया। इसके प्रथम कुलपति ज्ञान अतिस थे।