Govt unveils plans for Census 2017

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Pakistan Bureau of Statistics Chief Statistician Asif Bajwa, in a press conference on Saturday, revealed the plans to conduct sixth population census that will officially kick off on March 3, with activities such as distribution of material, census forms and other documents for the first stage of the census in chosen districts, starting from March 15.

He said the second stage of the census would commence on March 31 and the process would be completed by April 14. The house listing exercise would be completed in three days while census forms would be filled within ten days.

In reply on the holding the census in phases, he said the international agencies had approved census, provided that it was conducted within one and half month. The population would be counted on the basis of morning of March 18 and the birth and deaths after March 18 would not be counted.

“We will give provisional results of census within 60 days”, he said adding that the complete data of the census would be available within next one and half year.

About the cost, he said it was estimated to be over Rs 30 billion. Nearly half of the amount would be utilised by the security operations of the exercise. “Last census had a head count cost of Rs 12 per head but this time it was assessed at Rs 150 per head”, he added.

The strength of civil enumerators, taken from the provincial government is 42,000 and a similar number of enumerators from the army will accompany them.

Overall 200,000 soldiers would provide security cover for the exercise that would be carried out from Gwadar to Chitral and in FATA areas.

Bajwa said the concerns of the provincial governments were addressed and they were taken on board for the last two years. Their main concerns were the foreigners and outsiders: Afghanis, Bengalis, and Burmese. “We have told them that they would be counted but would be included as foreigners after verifying their data from the NADRA,” he said.

Census officials told media that a fine of Rs 50,000 and punishment of 6 months could be awarded in case somebody refused to reply to the questions. A summary seeking temporarily magistrate powers for the census staff was said to be under consideration of the government.

Meanwhile, the preparatory activities of are in full swing and the training of enumerators had been started from February 6, 2017 which would continue till March 4, 2017.

In this regard, Statistics Division Secretary Dr Shujaat Ali along with Chief Statistician/Chief Census Commissioner Asif Bajwa and C&S member Habibullah Khan visited training venues at Tarnol, Islamabad and Gordon College, Rawalpindi to assess the quality of training being imparted and attendance of enumerators. They also asked different questions regarding ongoing training from the participants. The participants showed satisfaction about the trainings.