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Tuesday July 23, 2024

‘PBS applies best methods for digital census’

By Our Correspondent
March 10, 2023

Islamabad: The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) applied best methodologies for first-ever ongoing digital census of Pakistan that is largest digital census of South Asia while all processes was finalised following international best practices and consultations with all stakeholders, said spokesperson PBS Sarwar Gondal.

He said in a statement that it was a historic and exemplary move as, he mentioned, despite several years of preparing our neighbouring country India could digitise their census so for.

“It is a commendable initiative as it has provided innovative digital solutions increasing transparency, accountability, and efficiency in record time. However, concerns are being raised by certain provincial governments and political leaders about the ongoing digital census and the results it will garner,” he added.

All methodologies and process of census was approved by the Census Advisory Committee and Council of Common Interest (CCI).

While explaining the digital journey of the census, he recalled that PBS was tasked with digitising the census process to address the concerns raised on the results of the 2017 census results.

Understanding the importance of a consultative process, PBS took all steps and measures to ensure ownership and understanding of the digital census at all levels and fully on board all stakeholders, especially provincial governments, through a consultative process. “Prior to conducting the census, they held orientation meetings and sensitisation workshops with all stakeholders, including political parties, media, academic institutions, international partners, and departments and officials at all levels,” PBS official stated.

The PBS further suggested that the only surest way to ensure that the census is credible is for people to provide their complete and reliable information either through self-enumeration at https://self.pbs.gov.pk or with the help of the enumerators visiting door-to-door. Moreover, the PBS has extended the date to fill out your own census form through the self-enumeration portal.

In previous census some public concerns came on surface that all, he claimed all concerns have been addressed. “It ensures universal inclusion - counting each and every one living in a location for six months or planning to live there for six months, leaving no one behind, including those who may be away temporarily or have been displaced by the floods,” he said adding that the census covers everyone residing in Pakistan, regardless of the type of dwelling they reside in or their residential status. The census is not linked to voter registration and nor to the address on their CNIC.

It addresses issues of ensuring enumerators visit all locations and oversight of the process by integrating GIS and geo-tagging for real-time monitoring. Access has also been provided to Chief Secretaries of all provinces for progress monitoring dashboards to gauge real-time progress of the census process, to support the oversight of their activities and address any upcoming issues they may have. The identity of the enumerator visiting houses can also be verified through the Pakistan Bureau of Census website. The technology solutions are being provided by NADRA.

The PBS shared that they worked beyond its capacity, making great strides towards upgrading itself in a very short time, taking up the challenge to digitally transform itself with very limited resources. According to the PBS, extensively trained staff and enumerators on the latest systems and processes at all levels. It said that the processes were standardised and centralised and auto-task management was incorporated in all aspects. Tablets are being used to collect data, and quality assurance is ensured through computer-assisted telephone interviews.