- For the first time ever, tablets will be used to collect data related to population census.
- Population census will be held on a “de-jour” basis, say sources.
- Census to be conducted by Dec 2022, 250,000 armed forces personnel to be deployed across Pakistan.
ISLAMABAD: The federal government will hold the next population census on a “de-jour” basis by December 2022 for the first time digitally, according to a report in The News.
The report said that the government plans to seek the army’s help in conducting the census. It has decided to deploy 250,000 armed forces personnel to ensure foolproof security measures for the census activities.
The armed forces personnel will not fill the census details on tablets. However, they will ensure the enumerators (the staff performing the functions of collecting the details) have foolproof security.
For the first time ever in Pakistan’s history, census details will be collected via computer tablets. Previously, every census held across Pakistan was conducted manually. Enumerators used to pencil down details and fill the forms in the presence of security personnel.
As per government estimates, the census will require Rs23-25bn.
The report states that the census will be held on a “de-jour” basis, which means everyone will be counted where he/she had lived in the last six months and would be living in the next six months.
However, there are a few exceptions to this, such as persons who contract illnesses, are staying abroad for Haj, Umrah or Ziarat or are abroad for employment purposes, for one month. The training of enumerators will play a key role in holding a free, fair, and transparent census.
The government has decided to procure 100,000 tablets to hold the consensus. It plans to train 600,000 enumerators from various fields such as health, education and local government, on data collection for the population census.
In consultations with renowned demographers of the country, the government has finalized a questionnaire, having 23 to 26 questions that will be asked by enumerators to fill the census forms on computer tablets. The number of census blocks will be increased from 168,000 to 180,000 for covering the whole country.
Top official sources said that the Ministry of Planning would move a summary before the Council of Common Interests (CCI), expected to be convened in the next few weeks, whereby the competent forum is expected to grant formal approval for holding the upcoming census with foolproof security by the personnel of armed forces.
Had the government decided to conduct the census on a de-jour basis, it would have to deploy 1.1mn armed forces personnel, impose a curfew and check where a person was living on that particular day.
After approval of the population census by the CCI, the government would notify the chief census commissioner and the provinces would notify their respective provincial census commissioners respectively.
“It is expected that the pilot project of holding the population census covering 4 to 5% areas in all the four provinces and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) will be conducted to ascertain the veracity of authenticity or relevance of the questionnaire for the purpose of holding the next census,” said the official sources, adding that the exercise of accomplishing this gigantic task would be done by December 2022.
The Election Commission of Pakistan would require six months for the delimitation exercise, so the next general elections could be held in July or August 2023. But if the general elections are scheduled in the first few months of 2023, then it would be based on the last census exercise conducted in 2017.