ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal emphasised the timely completion of census and involvement of and consultation with all stakeholders such as the Election Commission of Pakistan, civil society, academia, politicians, and demographers to ensure consensus.

The Third Meeting of the Census Monitoring Committee (CMC) was held on Monday under the chairmanship of Ahsan Iqbal at the P-Block Secretariat.

The minister directed the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) to coordinate with the Election Commission and include them as a co-opted member in the CMC for population census.

He also directed PBS to engage with civil society to ensure that they are onboard.

On census timelines, he directed the PBS and the NADRA to revise census training and tablet procurement respectively. He further advised PBS to make all efforts to get the consent of the Sindh government on dejure methodology as they had reservations on the results of the last census.

As per recommendations of the CMC, Pilot Census for 7th Population and Housing Census–2022 was conducted, wef, 20th July 2022 to 3rd August 2022 in 33 districts throughout the country including Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan with the aim to test tools and technology before going into full rollout.

Pilot Census Evaluation Report has been finalised by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. The CMC is responsible for supervision and evaluation of Pilot Census and recommendations for full roll-out of Census-2022.

Therefore, the main objectives of the meeting were debriefing on Pilot Census, finalization of the revised work plan based on timelines provided by the NADRA and to provide updates on meeting with chief minister Sindh regarding enumeration methodology to the committee.

Dr Naeemuz Zafar, chief statistician, gave a brief of the previous CMC meeting and then he discussed the outcomes of the pilot census. He informed the participants that pilot census was conducted for testing tools and technology, field operation and security mechanisms before the full rollout of Census-2022.

The PBS has scrutinised the whole process and it is heartening to share that the PBS, along with partner organisation, completed enumeration within the assigned time of 15 days for each block; however, despite overall success, there were a few shortcomings which will be addressed before full rollout. All software and hardware will be tested before Census Operation by the PBS and the NADRA. The PBS has compiled all the issues faced during the exercise and it is very important to present the exact situation to the committee and collaborating partners such as the Nadra, NTC, and Suparco, etc.

The meeting ended on a vote of thanks and the resolve to continue with concerted efforts for transparent and credible conduct of census.

The meeting was attended by chief secretaries of all provinces/regions with relevant secretaries, Additional Commissioner Islamabad, DG Military Operations, Directorate, Chairman Nadra, MD NTC, and senior officers from education, local government, finance, and senior officers of the PBS.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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