Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal on Monday directed the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and National Registration and Database Authority (NADRA) to revise census training and tablet procurement respectively to complete the process well in time.

The minister chaired third meeting of Census Monitoring Committee (CMC) and reviewed the preparation for holding 7th digital Population and Housing Census, said a press release.

He emphasized the need for timely completion of census and involvement and consultation with all stakeholders like Election Commission, civil societies, academia, politicians and demographers to ensure consensus.

He directed PBS to coordinate with Election Commission and include them as co-opted member in Census Monitoring Committee; moreover, and asked for engaging with civil society to ensure that they are on-board. On census timelines, he directed PBS and NADRA to revise census training and tablet procurement respectively.

He further advised PBS to make all efforts to get consent of Sindh government on Dejure methodology as they had reservations on results of last census. Meeting ended on a vote of thanks and resolve to continue with concerted efforts for transparent and credible conduct of census.

As per recommendations of CMC, Pilot Census for 7th Population and Housing Census– 2022 was conducted from July, 20, 2022 to August, 03 2022 in 33 districts throughout the country including Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan with an aim to test tools and technology before going into full roll out.

Pilot Census Evaluation Report has been finalized by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and the CMC is responsible for supervision and evaluation of Pilot Census and recommendations for full roll-out of Census-2022.

Therefore, the main objectives of meeting were debriefing on Pilot Census, finalization of revised work plan based on time lines provided by NADRA and to provide updates on meeting with Chief Minister Sindh regarding enumeration methodology to the committee.

The meeting was attended by Chief Secretaries of all provinces, regions with relevant secretaries, additional commissioner Islamabad, DG Military Operations, Directorate, Chairman NADRA, MD NTC and senior officers from Education, Local Government, Finance and Senior officers of PBS.

Dr. Naeem uz Zafar, Chief Statistician, gave a brief of the previous CMC meeting and then he discussed the outcomes of Pilot Census. He informed the participants that Pilot Census was conducted for testing tools and technology, field operation and security mechanism before full roll out of Census-2022.

PBS has scrutinized the whole process and it is heartening to share that PBS, along with partner organization, completed enumeration within assigned time of 15 days for each block; however, despite overall success, there were a few shortcomings which will be addressed before full rollout.

All software and hardware will be tested before Census Operation by PBS and NADRA. PBS has compiled all the issues faced during the exercise and it is very important to present the exact situation to the committee and collaborating partners like NADRA, NTC and SUPARCO.