New Delhi: Government has proposed to amend a 7-year old Act to enable the Centre to collect statistical data in Jammu and Kashmir for removing a "legislative vacuum" with regard to data collection in the state.
At present, the existing Collection of Statistics Act, 2008, does not apply to Jammu and Kashmir. The state has its own Jammu and Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010.
The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has now invited public comments by August 31 on the Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill, 2015, to amend the Act.
According to notes explaining the draft law, the Jammu and Kashmir State legislature has powers to enact laws on 'statistics' which falls under the concurrent and residuary powers reserved for the state under the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954.
The Collection of Statistics Act, 2008, and the Jammu and Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010, are not applicable to the statistical subjects falling in the Union List, as applicable to Jammu and Kashmir under the aforementioned 1954 Order.
"This has created a legislative vacuum. Moreover, the concurrent jurisdiction to be exercised by the Centre has also not been provided for, in the principal Act", the note said while justifying the amendment under the bill.
The bill also provides for addition of new section for appointment of a nodal officer by the Central Government and each state to coordinate and supervise all statistical activities.
The main function of a nodal officer is to take steps to avoid unnecessary duplication of programmes of collection of statistics.
The draft bill also provides for amendment to Section 33 to provide for rules for using personal information collected and the procedure to be followed in dealing with offences under the Act.