The self-enumeration portal of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics received four million clicks from people over the last few days as part of the seventh digital census. While the field enumeration will start on March 1, the self-enumeration option through the portal launched on February 20 will continue till March 3. PBS member Sarwar Gondal told a news conference that the response from people had been ‘very great’ in just a few days.
This was the first of its kind of digital census in South Asia, he added. However, he admitted, some minor issues were being reported, which have been communicated to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), which is taking care of the technology solutions behind the census.
While speaking at a press conference held today in Islamabad, the Official Spokesperson of PBS and Member (Support Services/Resource Management), Mr. Muhammad Sarwar Gondal shared that
“Pakistan is making history with the first-ever digital census and the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics shares with great pride that the people are participating actively and stakeholders are appreciating and supporting the exercise.”
He said that as with any first-time technology initiative, some minor issues are being reported, which have been communicated to NADRA, who is taking care of the technology solutions behind the census. MrGondal was grateful for the positive feedback as it is helping NADRA improve its systems.
Responding to a question regarding concerns being raised on the process from Sindh, in particular Karachi, Balochistan, and a few other quarters, Mr. Sarwar Gondal, Member SSRM, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics shared that before the census extensive and intensive consultations were held at levels, especially with provincial stakeholders to explain the complete the digital process.
The apprehensions being raised are due to a lack of understanding of what the census process entails. Pakistan Bureau of Statistics is once again engaging with the stakeholders to explain the facts and clear all misunderstandings to ensure that the census is being held transparently, counting everyone living in Pakistan, at the location they are living in. It is for this reason that a digitized methodology was chosen for this census.
Further explaining the census objective, Mr. Gondal shared that
“As per the General Statistics Reorganization Act 2011 and the UN Conventions, the census is a national duty to inform policymaking, future planning, and development for the progress of the country. Participation in the census is mandatory and providing reliable information is a civic duty for everyone living in Pakistan.”
Member SSRM, Mr. Muhammad SarwarGondal, emphasized that spreading fake news or misinformation for any purpose is a criminal offense, or politicizing it or using it for agenda-setting is dishonesty to the country and the people. Census is our national duty and together we have to make this first-ever digital census a global success.
Staying true to the principles of honesty and integrity, fulfilling its main mandate and the decision of the Council of Common Interest (CCI), the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics is conducting the first-ever digital census to provide credible, transparent, and timely data for decision-making. The digitization of the census guarantees transparency, accountability, and efficiency.
Responding to a question regarding concerns being raised on the process from Sindh, in particular Karachi, Balochistan, and a few other quarters, Mr. Gondal shared that before the census extensive and into- I’ve consultations were held at levels, especially with provincial stakeholders to explain the complete digital process.
The apprehensions being raised are due to a lack of understanding of what the census process entails. While responding to questions, Mr. Gondal also shared details of how the safety and security of data had been secured. He said over 100,000 fully trained enumerators would be using tablets to fill out the census information visiting door-to-door while geo-tagging the structures.