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What is National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO)?

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National Sample Survey (NSS) was set up on the recommendations of the National Income Committee in 1950 and was chaired by the late Professor P.C. Mahalanobis. The basic aim behind setting up NSS was to fill up the large gaps in statistical data to calculate the national income aggregates (especially related to the unorganised/household sector of the economy). In March 1970, NSS was reorganised as National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO). It is an organisation in the Ministry of Statistics and Programmed Implementation and is the largest organisation in India that conducts regular socio-economic surveys. The data collected through these surveys on various socio-economic subjects are released through reports and quarterly issued journals Sarvekshana. 

National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO)


The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) also provides periodic estimates of literacy, utilisation of educational services, unemployment, school enrolment, employment, manufacturing and service sector enterprises, child care, maternity, etc. Other works of NSSO include undertaking the fieldwork of the Annual Survey of industries, conducting crop estimation surveys, and collecting rural and urban retail prices to compile the consumer price index numbers. 

The three major surveys in which NSSO is involved are Socio-economic Surveys, Annual Survey of Industries, and Agricultural Surveys. The NSSO takes responsibility for the socio-economic survey from its design to the release of the survey reports. However, it just collects data from the field in the case of the other two surveys. 

The four divisions of the National Samples Survey Organisation are as follows:

  1. Survey Design and Research Division (SDRD)
  2. Field Operation Division (FOD)
  3. Data Processing Division (DPD)
  4. Co-ordination and Publication Division (CPD)

Activities of National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO)

Some of the activities conducted by NSSO are as follows:

1. NSSO carries out multi-subject integrated socio-economic surveys.

2. It also undertakes the fieldwork of the Annual Survey of Industries and follow-up surveys of the Economic Census.

3. NSSO conducts the sample checks on area enumeration and crop estimation surveys of the State Statistical agencies.

4. The National Sample Survey Organisation collects price data from the rural and urban sectors.

5. To draw urban samples, NSSO also prepares the urban frames.

6. Another activity of NSSO includes conducting ad-hoc surveys and pilot inquiries for the methodological studies.

The National Sample Survey Organisation works and functions under the direction of a Governing Council with the required independence and autonomy for collecting, processing, and publication of NSS data. NSSO has become similar in India and abroad with reliable estimates on different aspects of economic and social life based on large-scale sample surveys.  

Organisational Structure of NSSO

The Governing Council of NSSO is composed of five academicians, five data users from the Central and State Government departments and the senior officers of the Ministry. Besides, the NSSO is headed by the Director General and Chief Executive Officer. They are responsible for the coordination and supervision of the activities of the organisation and are assisted by a small secretarial known as Co-ordination and Publication Division (CPD). 

Note: National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) was merged with Central Statistics Office (CSO) by the Indian Government on 23rd May 2019 to form National Statistical Office (NSO).

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Last Updated : 06 Apr, 2023
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