Digital census – 26 Jun 2022

Digital census will act as a genuine barometer, jot down statistical scope of displacement over years

Pakistan is proudly at the cusp of conducting its first-ever digital census. This is a leap forward and will contribute positively to all walks of national life. It will help in revising and upgrading policies in the spheres of general elections and distribution of resources as per population count with reference to their province-wise geographical strength. The proposition for holding a digital census has come on the sound strength of Nadra, which has one of the world’s best and fool-proof database systems, and has made great strides in national reconciliation. The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and all other relevant ministerial forums in close coordination with private IT enterprises are in for a gigantic task. The census compilation in the stipulated time frame, and its independent verification through android-based smart devices will be a shot in the arm for ensuring cohesion of policies and their implementation with a sense of assuredness.

This exercise will be a smart check on the professionalism aptitude of all in it. It is a great opportunity to take the nation into confidence to come forward and support this initiative. While it is based on a digital premise, ruling out tampering on a manual basis, the so-called concerns must come to an end. The last census in 2017 marked the national population at 207.68 million, with the expressed assumption error of -0.043%. Likewise, the population growth rate was projected at 2.40%, and it is estimated that the national count is well over 225 million to this day. Anyway, the digital census will act as a genuine barometer and jot down statistically the scope of displacement over the period of years, as well as the age grouping in which the nation is in today. An immediate application of the census will rest on the Election Commission, which is constitutionally bound to delimit the electoral constituencies as per results, and at the same time the federal cabinet upgrading disbursement of funds and receipts under the ECC and CCI nomenclatures.

This census will entail a lot of political consideration and that too on the parameters of urban-rural divide. Karachi has officially expressed its reservations on previous census, and likewise the displacement saga in the tribal areas and settled areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab will also be up for a litmus test. Let there be a consensual and ordained census, and that too without any hiccup.

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