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Harmonization of Definitions of MDG Indicators in National Statistical System of India S CHAKRABARTI DIRECTOR, CSO,INDIA
Alignment with NDP framework National Statistical System is aligned with FYP - India’s development framework Derives strategies from track record Sets goals and targets Identifies intervention mechanism Defines approach to programmes Allocates resources National Policies and Action Plans Political Agenda
MDGs- another framework Poses new challenges Compatibility with NDP framework Reformation of existing Statistical objectives/processes Relevance of the indicators – contextuality Optimality of choice Transformation burden Degrees of freedom
Harmonization Principles in India Recognizing the potentiality of existing processes Minimum conflict with NDP framework –discretion low-key troubleshooting Reliance on alternatives Allowance for invisibility/No imputation for non-availability of data
India’s MDG framework India follows indicator-framework given in United Nations, UNDG (2003) : “Indicators for Monitoring the Millennium Development Goals” Indian framework is based on all the 48 indicators taking into account the variants (a), (b)… for indicator number 1, 19 and 48 for monitoring and reporting purposes Thus a set of 53 indicators only is considered to be forming the reference frame for action
Actionable Indicators The set comprises those which are monitorable in some sense 40 out of 53 (48 prime+5 variants) are relevant, hence considered actionable 35 out of 40 for tracking – (in any case) 34 of 35 are visible in MDGR 6 out of 40 are missing – in the lab/left out
Classification Identical Similar Alternative Invisible having exact conformity with the standard definitions definitionally modified as per data availability or for contextual reasons different indicatorin the absence of quality data for the prescribed left out either for reasons of contextual irrelevancy or for complete lack of data
Size of the classes No. of Indicators in each class
Relative loss 1/3rd of actionable set are identical – matching globally internationally 67% loss of information for Global comparison 50% of actionable set are of altered kind (similar+alternative) – includes 7.5% of real proxy type internally 85% available for tracking 15% are missing/left-out
Revised MDG framework India has not accepted the revised indicator-framework drawn up by IAEG-MDG in keeping with the recommendations by the Secretary-General in his report to the 61st session of the UN General Assembly for inclusion of four new targets India does not support inclusion of a new target under Goal 1, that replaces Target 16 of Goal 8 Indicator 1(a) for Poverty Head Count Ratio does not figure in as a variant explicitly specified in RMDG framework for national level monitoring- it is indicatively suggested as a footnote Dropping of indicator 29 for use of solid fuels, indicator 48 (a) for Use of Personal Computers, not appropriate for India Ref.- Note on India’s stand points on RMDG
ALTERED VS. STANDARD Issue: ‘Altered’ Indicators (= “Similar” + “Alternative” indicators)
Indicator 1-a: PHRType=Similar Proportion of the national population whose incomes fall below the national poverty line Proportion of the national population whose monthly consumption expenditure falls below the national poverty line State specific poverty lines for rural and urban areas – sub-national National poverty lines for rural and urban areas differ from States’ poverty lines Percentage of population below the national poverty line [= PHR] is weighted average of States’ PHRs • It is income related • Income is generally more difficult to measure and does not accord well with the standard of living • Only one poverty line for national and sub-national levels is implied- not very well in large countries having wide difference in prices and lifestyles from place to place
Indicator 4: Underweight Children Type=Similar Percentage of children under 5 years of age whose weight for age is less than minus two standard deviation from the median for the international reference population ages 0-59 months. Percentage of children under 3 years of age whose weight for age is less than minus two standard deviation from the median for the international reference population ages 0-35 months. India’s data is based of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) conducted for the years 1992-93, 1998-99 and 2005-06 Last two surveys has reference age 0-35 months while the first one has 0-47 months Results of last 2 NFHSs are not comparable with first NFHS results Reference age of 0-59 months also used in NFHS-III (2005-06) • International (WHO) standard age group makes the data internationally comparable, but it fails to distinguish between short children of adequate body weight and tall, thin children • Country condition and height factor are less pronounced in ages less than 36 months
Indicator 6: Primary enrolmentType= Alternative • NER shows proportion of children of primary school age who are enrolled in primary school • NER below 100% provides a measure of the proportion of school age children who are not enrolled at the primary level • GER includes children of any age and hence may exceed 100% as is the case in India at present • NER is being estimated at present and going through trials for reliability before using the indicator for MDG tracking NER is the ratio of children of official school age who are enrolled in primary school to the total population of children of official school age. GER is the ratio of children of regardless of age who are enrolled in primary school to the total population of children of age 6-11(normative in India).
Indicator 8 &10: Youth LiteracyType=Similar • India reports in MDGR • Adult literacy rate for the age group (15yrs+) for Indicator 8 towards Target 3 • Literacy gender parity index for (7yrs+) for Indicator 10 towards Target 4 • For ensuring primary schooling literacy of all adults (15 yr+) is important in India and for eliminating gender disparity in all levels, targeting literacy of women and men alike in all ages 7 yrs+ is important For Target 3: Towards ensuring full course of primary schooling of children (General Youth Literacy) and For Target 4: Towards eliminating gender disparity in all levels of education (women to men ratio of literate Youths) The reference age group is 15-24 years for international comparison but it is aligned to NLM objectives in India. Data tailored to ref. age group is feasible for MDGR.
EMBEDDED BIAS Issue: coverage
Replacing‘Prevalence’ • Indicators prescribed: • 7.18: HIV prevalence among pregnant women aged 15-24 years and • 8.21: Prevalence and death rates associated with Malaria • 8.23: Prevalence and death rates associated with Tuberculosis • Data on these are collected for • Incidence of new cases during specified period of time in every year • Incidence rates are used in place of prevalence rates, giving altered indicators.
Limitations • Annual round of HIV sentinel surveillance at identified sentinel sites (clinics) conducted during 12 weeks from 1st August to 31st October every year (for indicator 18) – necessitated definitional change. • The estimates (for indicator 18 and 21) are too specific to high-risk zones, both at state-level and national level • Incidence and Death rates due to TB as per notified cases under DOTS or captured through ARTIis grossly underestimated due to coverage problem-WHO estimates for incidence rate is used • Limitation of malaria incidence rates is that they grossly underestimate the incidence in tribal, hilly, difficult and inaccessible areas, which cover 20% of population but 80% of malaria cases.
Harmonization problem Issue: compatibility with international bodies
Where national data is missing • Dietary energy consumption is a basic component of consumption poverty estimate – thus there is no real reason to have it separately by indicator 5 not it could be substituted by some other indicator of ‘similar’ type • No ‘alternative’ or ‘similar’ type indicator is possible for Indicator 20 in absence of data for it • Area protected, terrestrial or marine does not get changed regularly, hence it has not much relevance to developing countries • Unemployment rate is not generated for people aged 15-24 years; it is estimated for the whole population; it requires segregation of the labour force by age-groups Indicator 5: Prop of popln below minimum level of dietary energy consumption Indicator 20: School attendance of Orphans Indicator 26: area protected to maintain biological diversity Indicator 45:Unemployment rate of young people Indicator 46: Access to Affordable Essential Drugs Where the Indicators are not being tracked for MDGR
Issues in focus • Consultation with country focal points is essential before introducing changes in MDG’s existing framework • Use of altered indicators is country specific and economic when it emerges from existing system • Linkage with programme initiatives should be supported • Non-availability of information at international level should not be sufficient reason for dropping/ replacing one indicator • After crossing the half-way mark, changing the indicator frame poses a new hurdle