Role in Assessing Development
Vikas Chitre
NATIONAL INCOME ACCOUNTS AND DATA SYSTEMS by B.S. Minhas Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2004, 309 pp., 650.00
April 2004, volume 28, No 4

The assessment of socio-economic develop ment of a country requires reliable and comparable information on aspects of development reasonably comprehensively over time and space at meaningful levels of disaggregation and with adequate frequency. The quality of such an assessment depends as much upon the user’s understanding of the process by which such information is generated as the processing of this information by him to make the assessment. The book under review has put together selected essays presented at the Commemorative International Conference on Income and Wealth organized in November 1998. The reading of the essays, both stimulating and sobering, vividly brings out the limitations and the gaps in our data base, and the difficulty of intepreting the available information for evaluating the development experience. In the preface, M. Mukherjee draws attention to the need to provide for the wide-spread availability of information since information is a vital source of power, productive efficiency and change. He also cautions the users that “ … errors lurk in the borderline between a fact and its numerical representation”.

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