- Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis (29 June 1893 – 28 June 1972), was an India scientist and applied statistician
- Studied Bachelor in Science at Presidency College, Calcutta where he was taught by Jagadish Chandra Bose, Sarada Prasanna Das, and Prafulla Chandra Ray
- He did Tripos in Physics at the King’s College, Cambridge, England
- Influenced by Indian mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan when in England
- While in England, Mahalanobis developed an interest in statistics
- After he came back to India, he founded the Indian Statistical Institute
- Played key role in formulating India’s strategy for industrialization in the Second Five-Year Plan (1956–61)
- He is well known for his pioneering studies in anthropometry in India
- One of his major contributions to statistics was the concept of Mahalanobis distance which he introduced in 1936.
- He received the Weldon Memorial Prize from the University of Oxford in 1944
- He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, UK, in 1954, and of King’s College, Cambridge in 1959.
- In 1968, in recognition of his contributions to statistics he was honored with Padma Vibhushan and Srinivasa Ramanujam Gold Medal
- He died on 28 June 1972, a day before his 79th birthday
Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis (29 June 1893 – 28 June 1972), was an India scientist and applied statistician. In recognition of the notable contributions made by Late Professor Mahalanobis in the fields of statistics, statistical system and economic planning, Government of India in 2007, has designated 29thJune as the “Statistics Day” in the category of Special Days to be celebrated every year at the National level.
29th June, 2017 marked the beginning of the 125th year of birth of Prof. P.C. Mahalanobis. ISI has held year-round celebrations which will be culminated on 29th June, 2018.
Why celebrate Statistics Day?
The objective of celebration of this Day is to create public awareness about the importance of statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation, to acknowledge the contribution of Prof. Mahalanobis, and to pay homage to him.
Every year, one particular theme of current national importance is selected for focused discussions and efforts throughout the year aimed at bringing about improvements in the selected area. The theme selected for the Statistics Day this year is ‘‘Quality Assurance in Official Statistics’. The theme has been chosen to underscore the importance of compliance with essential parameters of quality in statistical systems and products. The Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) at Kolkata, set up by Prof. Mahalanobis in 1931, and was declared an autonomous “Institute of National Importance” through an act of Parliament in 1959, celebrates 29th June as the “Worker Day”.
The United Nations Statistical Commission declared October 20, 2010 as the World Statistics Day. It is celebrated once in five years. As of 2010, 103 countries celebrate a national Statistics Day. The next World Statistics Day will be celebrated on October 20, 2020.