PBS asked for timely provision of census data to ECP

By Anzal Amin

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal Wednesday directed the authorities of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) to strictly follow the timelies for provision of data to Election Commission of Pakistan for conduct of General Election 2023 on time.
The minister also emphasized the authenticity of the census process which is a huge national exercise. He said there should be no compromise on timelines.
“Census should be transparent and will be successful with the joint efforts of all organizations involved.” He was chairing the fifth meeting of Census Monitoring Committee held here on Tuesday at National Census Coordination Centre (N3C).
Census Monitoring Committee was constituted in pursuance of decision taken in 49th meeting of Council of Common Interest (CCI) last year to oversee/monitor Census activities to ensure expeditious, transparent and credible census conduct.
The main purpose of the meeting was to update all stakeholders about progress and ongoing activities of 7th Population & Housing Census, take decisions on methodology of Census in the snow bound areas, and decide to take decisions on issue of on overlapping of national events with census timelines.
Ahsan Iqbal directed that the provinces should be onboard and consensus must be made on all issues to avoid any controversy and effective utilization of resources.
Standard SOPs should be followed in all provinces for bringing uniformity and consistency in the whole process. He advised NTC to strictly follow the case of oracle Exadata as it is core component for backup optimal solution.
He asked provinces to ensure availability of teaching staff for enumeration and security staff and stressed to share their security plans as soon as possible.
He emphasized NADRA that all requested modules of software should be up to mark. He asked to implement strict consistency and quality checks as the data will be respondent based.
The meeting was attended by members of the Committee from all relevant departments and stakeholders which includes relevant federal ministries, administration of all provincial and area governments, DG military operations directorate, NADRA, NTC etc.
Chief Census Commissioner (PBS) Dr. Naeem uz Zafar, presented in detail the progress on 7th Population & Housing Census-related activities. He informed that 495 Census Support Centers have been established where trained staff is deputed. Provinces have allocated 120,000 Census Field Staff.
Pilot Census was successfully conducted in 33 districts. 125,500 Tablets were hardened and delivered to 495 Census Support Centre and training of 121,000 field staff is in progress since Jan 07, 2023, at 992 venues. However, problems were faced in attendance in all provinces especially Sindh & Punjab.
He further added that NADRA has informed that all the requirements including the security audit will be completed soon and after security audit, self-enumeration may be launched depending on the provision of required Backend Infrastructure by NTC.
Keeping in view the extreme cold weather, the methodology of census field operation in the snowbound areas was also discussed. Issuance of the memorable postal ticket to mark the conduct of first-ever digital census was also discussed.
Dr. Naeem further requested the chair that census is a federation-strengthening exercise therefore launch of the Self-Enumeration portal and start of field enumeration may please be done in a manner to seize the opportunity to increase national integrity.
To achieve this end, self-enumeration and field enumeration should be inaugurated by the President or Prime Minister at the Federal level, and provincial administrations at their respective levels.
Member (RM/SS) Muhammad Sarwar Gondal informed that the basic purpose of the census is Planning and Policymaking and this census has been planned by following UN principles and taking on board all concerns of stakeholders; therefore, it will definitely serve the purpose.
All the provinces assured their full support for the successful conduct of the national activity. The minister appreciated the efforts of PBS to bring transparency and credibility in the process.