GP Samanta Named Chief Statistician Of India
The government appointed GP Samanta as the chief statistician of India. He will also hold charge as the secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Samanta will be appointed “initially for a period of two years from the date of assumption of charge of the post or until further orders, whichever is earlier", according to an order by the the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions on Tuesday.
He will replace 1986-batch IAS officer Kshatrapati Shivaji, who was holding additional charge of the post since September 2020. India will have a full-time chief statistician after a gap of more than six months since Pravin Srivastava retired in August 2020.
Samanta is an adviser in the Reserve Bank of India’s Department of Statistics and Information Management. He is part of the editorial committee which assists RBI in publishing its monthly bulletins. In the past, he was a director and faculty member at the Reserve Bank Staff College in Chennai.
Samanta is a recipient of the prestigious Prof. P.C. Mahalanobis award for the year 2006 for “outstanding contribution to quantitative economics". His prime areas of research include inflation and monetary policy issues, economic modelling, forecasting, derivates and risk management, financial risk modelling, risk-based banking regulation, among others.
He holds a master of statistics degree from Indian Statistical Institute and a Ph.D in economics from the University of Mumbai.
Recently, Samanta co-authored a working paper for the RBI, titled ‘Monetary Policy Transparency and Anchoring of Inflation Expectations in India’, was released in January 2021.
At the 62th International Statistical Institute–World Statistics Congress held in Malaysia in 2019, the newly appointed chief statistician had presented a working paper to explore whether Google search index can help track and predict inflation rate in India.
“We have examined if the search volume on the keywords ‘inflation’ or ‘price’ in the Google search engine is useful to track and predict inflation rate in India," he wrote in the paper. "Empirical results are very encouraging. Future research may focus on fine-tuning of the present work further and to check the robustness of the results over time and across countries."