Global Economy

Gaps in climate-change data a challenge for policy-making, says RBI Governor Das

Data-gaps related to climate change have emerged as the key hindrance in effective macro-economic policy-making for central banks across the globe including the Reserve Bank of India, Governor Shaktikanta Das said.

“We are also facing long-term challenges of climate change, with its unusually complex dynamics. It poses new challenges to central banks, regulators and supervisors. The risk assessment methods and models for analysing climate-related risks are, at present, limited by lack of usable data,” Das said Wednesday at the annual Statistics Day conference at the RBI headquarters.

The new phase of G-20 Data Gaps Initiative (DGI) proposes climate change as a major focus area to address data gaps that have been identified as crucial for macroeconomic policy making and micro-financial stability.

“Work is on for identifying and bridging these data gaps,” the governor said on Statistics days, which India celebrates every year on the birth anniversary of Professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis to mark his contribution in the fields of statistics and economic planning.

“Our endeavour has been to follow global standards and best practices, some of which are still evolving,” Das said. The latest phase of DGI also aims to address data gaps related to household distributional information; and financial technologies and financial inclusion.

Challenges addressing the data-gaps in different spheres of economies spiraled manifold during the last two years when lockdowns posed breaks in compilation and availability of data.

“The pressing need for hard data during the crisis accelerated innovation and sharing of experiences, especially in production, dissemination and use of statistics, shift towards the use of new data sources, adoption of new statistical methods and deployment of experimental statistics and dashboards,” Das said.

“The experience of the last two years has made us mindful of the data gaps that remain, though ensuring standardisation of methodologies in the compilation of various national aggregates have stood us in good stead,” he added.

During this period of unprecedented uncertainty, closer monitoring of economic activity demanded immediate attention as the massive shock reverberated across the global economy. Across the world, the authorities responsible for collection and dissemination of real sector statistics started exploring collection of data through alternate modes.

Meanwhile, the proliferation of the internet has led to an explosion in the availability and demand for data. Businesses are making large investments to predict the behaviour of consumers by exploiting the advances made in the field of data analytics.

“Statistics should focus on laying down the pathway towards proper interpretation in the present world of data abundance. This would facilitate more informed decision making, clarity in communication from decision makers and formation of rational expectations from market participants,” Das said.


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