In the 20s of the last century, the premier institute of higher studies in the country, Kolkata’s Presidency College saw the founding of India’s first statistical laboratory at the hands of the famous mathematician Proshanto Chandra Mahalanobis.
Poet Rabindranath Tagore was a great inspiration for the unique endeavor at Presidency College, which he used to frequent in order to boost the morale of scientists working there.
Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) came into being on December 17, 1931 at Presidency College and later in 1942 shifted to its present campus on BT Road that was once the residence of Mahalanobis. Statistical research received further boost in 1959 when the government accorded ISI the status of institute of national importance.
Today ISI has spread to many places in India. Its yearly expenditure that was once a princely sum of Rs.238, has now become 1.5 crore rupees.
Yesterday, PM Manmohan Singh inaugurated the platinum jubilee celebration of ISI at its BT Road campus. In his speech he stressed that statistical research in India has not kept pace with its advance in other countries. He urged that similar to IITs and IIMs, ISI too must open more branches in the country.
While a sum of Rs.12 crore has been earmarked for overall improvement of ISI, the PM declared that PC Mahalanobis’ birthday on June 29 will henceforth be remembered as the National Statistics Day.
Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore [Picture source]