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Kalam seeks ISI inputs on river-linking impact

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The President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, taking a close look at the medicinal plants in the Agri-horticultural Society of India gardens in Kolkata on Friday. Also seen is the West Bengal Governor, Mr Viren J. Shah. — Parth Sanyal

Kolkata , Feb. 27

THE President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, today asked the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) to provide "useful inputs on the macro-economic impact of the interlinking of rivers project".

Delivering the 38th convocation address at the institute, Dr Kalam described the inter-linking of rivers project as "an area of national importance where statisticians can help".

He said that a task force had been formed for evolving the plan of action, including the ecological enhancement plan, for execution of the project.

The mission would eliminate the periodical problems of drought and floods that are experienced in a number of river basins.

"The mission is important both in terms of water and power security. A statistical model for the interlinking of rivers connecting the rainfall and snow measurements and the ground porosity for the water run-off model is a great challenge for the future of India. ISI needs to engage itself in coming out with reliable solution for this problem in the next few years."

He dwelt at length on the various areas where statistics and statisticians could play a major role.

One such area was healthcare, especially cardiac care, where statistics experts can provide vital directions for seeking corrective measures.

"Based on the study results (of statisticians), surgeons should be able to advise their clients on lifestyle modification, preventive therapy and decide on screening techniques and frequency for early detection and remedy."

According to Dr Kalam, the formulation of financial and taxation policies in a large country like India was a very complex process.

It involves the handling of a large volume of data of uncertain nature and modelling on the basis of observed data.

"A nationally-proven and validated model for economic dynamics for the country is a vital need. I do hope ISI would take this as a challenge worthy of pursuit and make useful contributions."

Describing India as the "mother of statistics", he paid tribute to P.C. Mahalanobis, who founded the ISI in December 1931 and who believed that statistics should be an integral part of national planning.

"The Mahalanobis model must be revisited in the modern-day digital economy, where the economy is dependent on knowledge capital and small start-ups make up a large part of the economy."

Mr Viren J. Shah, the West Bengal Governor, spoke of the need to improve India's position in the Human Development Index.

"If we do not do that, how do we carry ourselves in the comity of nations?" he asked.

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