ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Privatization and Statistics on Tuesday recommended a reassessment of 1 per cent census blocks to build up the credibility of the 6th population and housing census 2017. “We will recommend the Council of Common Interests (CCI) to have a reassessment of one per cent of census blocks, which would roundly constitute 1,600 out of total 168,000 blocks all across the country,” said Committee Chairman Mohsin Aziz.
Mohsin Aziz said that hype was being created about the census results so there was a need of reassessment to ensure the credibility of the census process and its results. This would also build up the credibility of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), he added. “We actually want to make it (census) credible,” he remarked, adding that if little variation was detected between reassessed results and the actual census figures, there would be no need to question the whole exercise.
However, in case of considerable variation, a standard sample of 5 per cent should be then taken for reassessment to confirm the credibility of the census, he added. Mohsin Aziz said that one percent blocks would be identified where the post enumeration exercise would be conducted. He said that PBS was asked to compile a final report within the shortest possible time as the elections were also approaching near. The committee was of the view that all the concerned quarters would be requested to help in the reassessment of the process.
Earlier, while briefing the committee, Chief Census Commissioner Asif Bajwa said that the committee must identify the blocks where it suspects any manipulation. He said that post enumeration exercise reassessment was not an easy job and as per the standard practices, 5 per cent of the total population needed to be reassessed, adding that it would require the engagement of army personnel and other census staff. Bajwa said that May 2018 was the deadline for the detailed compilation of census results, however, added that the PBS would provide the detailed results by the end of April.
Bajwa clarified that the reason there was not much difference in the population of Karachi and Lahore was that the provincial government of Punjab had declared the entire Lahore district as urban, while two districts in Karachi were still classified as rural. Clarifying the misconception about the population of transgenders, he said that only those who had declared themselves as transgender were included in the category. He said that in total Rs 17. 26 billion was spent on the whole process and the PBS surrendered Rs 1.24 billion to the national exchequer, as earlier, an amount of Rs 18.5 billion budget was earmarked for the process. Elaborating reasons for dropping of population growth rate from 3.06 percent in 1981 to 2.69 percent in 1998 and 2.4 percent in 2017, Bajwa said that urbanisation was considered one of the factors of declining growth rate.
Among others, the meeting of the committee was attended by senators including Hamza, Saleem Mandviwalla and top officials of PBS.