WEB DESK: The 6th Population and Housing Census would be carried out in March 2016 under the oversight of 165,000 troops, for which a budgetary allocation has been duly approved by the Ministry of Finance. Asif Bajwa, Chief Statistician Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), informed the Senate Standing Committee on Finance here on Tuesday that 205,397 civilians would be deployed to carry out census.
Over 50 percent of allocated resources for holding the upcoming 6th population census will be utilized on security arrangements.
We need support of the armed forces for carrying out the credible survey on which everybody should trust. The census would cover all persons residing in the country except diplomats and refugees living in camps. When committee asked about any possibility of delay in census, Bajwa said that a political decision to conduct census has already been taken. A budget has been approved and budget estimates for the first quarter have been released by the Ministry of Finance.
If there is any major law and order situation or unfortunate incident, the survey could be delayed, but all necessary preparations have been made to meet timelines for completion of the said census. Quoting an example, he raised a question: ‘What happens if any of the provinces boycotts the census?’
Bajwa said that the decision has been taken by the government at the highest forum of Council of Common Interest (CCI) to hold a transparent and credible housing and population census in one go from Karachi to Peshawar and Quetta. PBS has directed all provincial governments for freezing of administrative boundaries from December 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 as they recently got information that one province notified additional administrative structure that could cause disturbance in PBS blocks.
He shared that the PBS required A workforce of 205,397 personnel including enumerators and supervisors besides over 165,000 military troops to ensure foolproof security arrangements. The military personnel will be assigned to fill separate form in order to ensure counter-check.
He said they held a meeting with Military Operation GHQ to review the deployment of Armed Forces with the civilian field staff in accordance with a CCI decision. We need Army’s support for holding credible census as civilians might be hailing from the same area so the Army’s personnel will be filling separate forms to ensure counter check on civilian workforce. These separate forms filled by Army personnel, he said, will be provided to headquarters through their line of command which will be reconciled to ensure credible and transparent population census.
The provincial census commissioners would be appointed within this week as the process of appointment was underway. The PBS had printed 42.5 million forms free of cost but now they required an additional 7 million forms for which they got a bid of around half a million dollar. “We are printing machine readable forms with bar codes and arrangements are finalized with exact timelines,” he added.
The house listing operation would be completed in 3 days by end March 2016. The census enumerators will be given a 15-day period to fill forms in their respective total 165,000 blocks in all over the country, having 200 to 250 housing units. Then enumerators will be given one day in April 2016 for collecting details about homeless or gypsies. Another 15 days will be given for the retrieval of census documents.
He said that Pakistan was rapidly turning into an urbanized country but its exact level could be determined only after getting the results of next census. He said the information of individuals collected through the census would be considered a secret and it would not be shared with any organization. However, the collective data can be shared. The data collected by the PBS is being used by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Similarly, NADRA can seek population data from the PBS, but no individual’s information would be provided to anyone.
Sharing the activity plan of the census, he said the appointment of the field staff would be competed by December 31, 2015, establishment of control rooms by January 1 to May 31, 2016, distribution of census material from February 1 2016 to March 15 2016 and formation of census coordination committees and vigilance teams at division/district and tehsil level would be established has January 1-31, 2016. The house listing operation would be completed during March 2016, census enumeration period by March-April 2016, enumeration of homeless population by April-2016 and retrieval of census documents would be completed from April to May 2016
Source: Business Recorder