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Thursday December 09, 2021

Govt to hold population census in Dec 2022 on ‘de-jour’ basis

October 08, 2021
Govt to hold population census in Dec 2022 on ‘de-jour’ basis

ISLAMABAD: Ruling out the possibility of conducting the next population census on de-facto basis by imposing a curfew, the government has decided to hold the population census in December 2022 on a ‘de-jour' basis as everyone will be counted whereas living in the last six months.

The army’s help will be sought as 250,000 personnel of armed forces will be deployed all over Pakistan with the mandate to ensure foolproof security for the upcoming population census. The army personnel will not play any role in filling the questionnaire forms on computer tablets but they will have to ensure security on the occasion of holding the population census.

Top official sources said that the government had so far estimated that it required Rs23 to Rs25 billion for holding this exercise on computer tablets for the first time in the country’s history. In the past, every census was done on a manual basis where the questionnaire forms were filled by enumerators mostly in the presence of personnel of the armed forces.

The next population census will be conducted on a “de-jour” basis under which everyone will be counted where he had lived in the last six months and would be living in the next six months with few exceptions such as illness, staying abroad for Haj, Umra or Ziarat or employment purposes for one month period. The training of enumerators will play a key role in holding a free, fair, and transparent census.

The next population census will be conducted on computer tablets as the government has estimated to procure 100,000 tablets whereby 600,000 enumerators belonging to education, health, and local government departments will be departing training to fill the questionnaire in detail.

In consultations with renowned demographers of the country, the government has finalized a questionnaire, having 23 to 26 questions that will be asked by enumerators to fill the census forms on computer tablets. The number of census blocks will be increased from 168,000 to 180,000 for covering the whole country.

Top official sources said that the Ministry of Planning would move a summary before the Council of Common Interests (CCI), expected to be convened in the next few weeks period, whereby the competent forum was expected to grant formal approval for holding the upcoming census with foolproof security by the personnel of armed forces.

The federal cabinet had granted its nod for holding the next census on a de-jour basis instead of a de-facto basis because on a de-facto basis, the country would have required 1.1 million personnel of armed forces for imposing curfew in the country for one day and counting everyone wherever he or she was living on that day.

After approval of population census by the CCI, the government would notify the chief census commissioner and the provinces would notify their respective provincial census commissioners respectively.

“It is expected that the pilot project of holding the population census covering 4 to 5 percent areas in all the four provinces and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) will be conducted to ascertain the veracity of authenticity or relevance of the questionnaire for the purpose of holding the next census,” said the official sources and added that the exercise of accomplishing this gigantic task would be done by December 2022.

The Election Commission of Pakistan would require six months for delimitation exercise, so the next general elections could be held in July or August 2023. But if the general elections were scheduled in the first few months of 2023, then it would be held on the basis of the last census exercise conducted in 2017.