Announcing 'Data Guides'

by Janaki Samant

Economic Outlook contains data on over 630,000 indicators sourced from over a hundred different official agencies and other reliable institutions. There are over 300 source documents and scores of websites from which this data is collected.

Each logical set of indicators has its own little story to tell - of the sources that produced them, the meaning they convey and the presentations of Economic Outlook in which they are found.

The Seek Clarifications platform has addressed questions such as these for many users of Economic Outlook over time. However, we believe that there are many who could have benefited by an explanation of the data, if they had asked. Admittedly, sometimes because of time and space constraints or because of the way in which questions are asked we are unable to explain some data adequately at the instance.

We feel it may be a good idea to explain the data in Economic Outlook. Such explanations could be particularly useful to educational institutions who may like their students to learn about the data series in a little detail. They could also be useful as a quick introduction to a young professional dealing with a particular economic data in a corporate office or in an investment company.

It is not possible for us to provide a comprehensive guide to the data in one go. With 630,000+ indicators it is an almost impossible task to provide all this in a practical time-frame.

We have therefore started a process of releasing Data Guides on an ongoing basis. The sequence of release of such Data Guides would be guided by the data of the season.

The season in India in this month of June is the arrival of the monsoon and the commencement of kharif crop sowing.

We are therefore pleased to release the following data guidance notes.

  1. Southwest Monsoon Rainfall
  2. Progress of Sowing
  3. Reservoir Level

The data guidance notes are available against the subject in the Table of Contents of the relevant Chapter. It can be identified by the icon . Click on this icon to open a pdf containing the data guidance on the subject.

Please do let us know of your views on this initiative.

A Data Guide seeks to explain the data presented in Economic Outlook.

Each Data Guide seeks to explain the data presented in one or more related tabulations. It is presented in a pdf file which can be accessed by clicking on the icon against an item of the Table of Contents of a section of a Chapter in Economic Outlook.

A Data Guide consists of three-five components.

  1. Data guidance note or explanatory note. This note explains the data. It explains the context of the data. For example, the context of the rainfall data in India is the peculiar southwest monsoon phenomenon. The explanatory note explains the source agencies from where the data is obtained, the frequency with which it is released and the kinds of data released. It also explains where this data can be found in Economic Outlook and the various presentations on the data.
  2. Definitions. Sometimes the definitions are a part of the Explanatory Note. But, when there many definitions and each of them requires some explanation, these are separated into a separate note.
  3. Brief analysis or descriptive essay. The descriptive essay is an example. It is a descriptive essay on the data. The objective is to demonstrate how the data can be used in the most simple manner to understand the subject. We hope that this will be found useful by educational institutions.
  4. Objective questions with answers. Usually, there are about 10 questions with multiple choices. The correct answers are provided at the end of this section.
  5. Descriptive questions. Educational institutions may give these questions to students and test their understanding of the subject. Some questions can be quite involved.

While Data Guide contains questions and answers, CMIE does not assume any responsibility for conducting any tests. The questions are merely to help students to test their understanding. Teachers may use these as they may find appropriate. We will be happy to receive any feedback on the questions and also suggestions regarding the same.

Data Guide notes is our little initiative to improve the usage of the copious amounts of data available in Economic Outlook. We will be happy to receive your suggestions.