India Begins Four-Year Term as UN Statistical Commission Member

India Begins Four-Year Term as UN Statistical Commission Member


India started its four-year term as a member of the United Nations Statistical Commission. The country had won the election to the global statistics body in April after a gap of nearly two decades.


GS-02 (Government Policies & Interventions, Bilateral Agreements)

Key Highlights:

  • India’s Return to UNSC: India commenced its four-year term as a member of the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC), marking its return after a two-decade absence.
  • Unanimous Election in 2023: India was unanimously elected in April 2023 to join the commission, effective from January 1, 2024, playing a pivotal role in shaping statistical standards globally.
  • Key Role in Setting Standards: India, among 24 other members, will actively contribute to determining statistical standards, developing concepts and methods, and implementing them at both national and international levels.
  • Global Youth Leadership: India’s membership is significant, especially as a global youth leader, coinciding with efforts to establish a comprehensive database under the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Historical Leadership: Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis and V.R. Rao, Indian representatives, chaired the commission in 1954, 1956, and 1976, underlining India’s historical involvement in shaping global statistical frameworks.
  • Crucial Agenda – 2025 SNA: India’s participation is crucial in finalizing and implementing the 2025 System of National Accounts (SNA), a vital aspect in updating and aligning national income estimates globally. Issues include measuring economic activities in developing countries and addressing challenges like unpaid work, digitalization, human well-being, and climate change impact.

United Nations Statistical Commission:

  • Established in 1947 and headquartered in New York, the United Nations Statistical Commission stands as the paramount body within the global statistical system.
  • This commission convenes Chief Statisticians from member states worldwide, fostering collaboration and uniformity in statistical endeavors.
  • Serving as the highest decision-making entity for international statistical activities, it bears the responsibility of establishing statistical standards and developing concepts and methods, ensuring their implementation on both national and international fronts.
  • As a Functional Commission of the UN Economic and Social Council, the Statistical Commission oversees the operations of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD).

Key Functions:

  • Decision-Making Authority: The commission holds the highest decision-making authority for international statistical endeavors.
  • Standard Setting: It is entrusted with setting global statistical standards and advancing methodologies.
  • Implementation Oversight: The commission ensures the application of statistical concepts and methods at both national and international levels.

Membership Structure:

The Commission comprises 24 member countries elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The composition adheres to an equitable geographical distribution pattern, including:

  • Five members from African States
  • Four members from Asia-Pacific States
  • Four members from Eastern European States
  • Four members from Latin American and Caribbean States
  • Seven members from Western European and other States

The term of office for members is four years. Notably, India, after a hiatus of two decades, is returning to the UN agency, having last been a member of the Statistical Commission in 2004.