statistics body fail to fix census timeline


statistics body fail to fix census timeline ISLAMABAD: The governing council of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Saturday failed to come up with a timeline for holding the much-awaited population and housing census in the country.

The last census was held 17 years ago.

The council had earlier given a deadline of March but it was missed because of non-availability of army personnel to escort the staff conducting the census.

A meeting of the council presided by its chairman Finance Minister Ishaq Dar reviewed preparations for holding the census. Chief Statistician Asif Bajwa gave a presentation on the preparations.

The only directive that came from Mr Dar was that all options for holding the census at an early date be examined.

According to an official statement, the minister told the council that the government was committed to conducting a credible and transparent census. It has allocated the required funds, procured the data processing equipment and made logistic arrangements.

However, he added, the only limitation was availability of army personnel keeping in view the current security and border situation.

The meeting was told that the PBS had started updating the urban and rural area frames by dividing geographical areas into small blocks. Urban blocks in 653 localities have been digitised with information regarding socio economic variables in the blocks.

The PBS is currently working on updating the rural area frame and has completed the job in around 60,000 of a total of 115,000 blocks. The process will enable the PBS to conduct census and sample surveys on digitised block boundaries and will enhance accuracy of data collected during its surveys.

The progress on the change of base of National Accounts from 2005-06 to 2015-16 was also presented in the meeting. It was told that the PBS had completed the field work of surveys on rent, construction, small scale and household manufacturing industries and household integrated income and consumption and their reports were in progress. Field work of five more surveys will be launched in the current month. The chair expressed satisfaction on the pace of work.

The meeting was informed that the bureau was going to switch over from paper questionnaires to electronic data collection. Agriculture census 2017 will be conducted and data on price statistics will be collected through Android technology using tablets, which will significantly curtail the time lag in data processing.


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