The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) is working extensively to meet the challenging timelines to conduct the first-ever digital census of Pakistan as per the decisions of the Council of Common Interest (CCI).
In this regard, the fifth meeting of the Census Monitoring Committee was held at National Census Coordination Centre (N3C) under the chair of Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal.
The Census Monitoring Committee was constituted in pursuance of the decision taken in the 49th meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) held on 13th January 2022 to oversee census activities to ensure expeditious, transparent, and credible census conduct.
The main purpose of the meeting was to update all stakeholders about the progress and ongoing activities of the 7th Population & Housing Census, take decisions on the methodology of the census in the snowbound areas, and take decisions on the issue of overlapping of national events with census timelines.
The meeting was attended by members of the committee from all relevant departments and stakeholders which includes relevant federal ministries, administration of all provincial and area governments, DG Military Operations Directorate, and NADRA among others.
Dr. Naeem uz Zafar, Chief Census Commissioner (PBS), presented in detail the progress on 7th Population & Housing Census-related activities. He informed that 495 Census Support Centers have been established where trained staff is deputed while provinces have allocated 120,000 Census Field Staff.
Pilot Census was successfully conducted in 33 districts. 125,500 tablets were hardened and delivered to 495 Census Support Centres and training of 121,000 Field Staff is in progress since 7th January 2023 at 992 venues.
However, problems were faced in attendance in all provinces, especially Sindh and Punjab. He further added that NADRA has informed that all the requirements including the security audit will be completed soon and after the security audit, self-enumeration may be launched depending on the provision of required backend infrastructure by the National Technology Council (NTC).
Dr. Naeem requested the chair that census is a federation-strengthening exercise therefore launch of a self-enumeration portal and start of field enumeration may be done in a manner to seize the opportunity to increase national integrity. To achieve this end, Self-enumeration and field enumeration should be inaugurated by the president or prime minister at the federal level, and provincial administrations at their respective levels.
The minister emphasized the authenticity of the census process which is a huge national exercise. He said there should be no compromise on timelines. The census should be transparent and will be successful with the joint efforts of all organizations involved. He said that provinces should be onboard and consensus must be made on all issues to avoid any controversy and effective utilization of resources. Standard SOPs should be followed in all provinces for bringing uniformity and consistency in the whole process.