Senate recommends reassessment of 1pc census blocks to build up credibility

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Islamabad
The Senate Standing Committee on Privatisation and Statistics Tuesday recommended reassessment of one percent of census blocks to build up credibility of the 6th Population and Housing Census 2017. “We will recommend the Council of Common Interests (CCI) to have reassessment of one percent of census blocks, which would roundly constitute 1,600 out of total 168,000 blocks all across the country,” said Chairman of the committee Mohsin Aziz. Mohsin Aziz said that hype was being created about the census results so there was need of reassessment to ensure credibility of the census process and its results. This would also build up the credibility of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), he added. “We actually want to make it (census) credible,” he remarked, adding that if little variation was detected between reassessed results and the actual census figures, there would be no need to question the whole exercise. However, in case of considerable variation, standard sample of 5 percent, should be then taken for reassessment to conform credibility of the census, he added. Mohsin Aziz said that one percent blocks would be identified where the post enumeration exercise would be conducted. He said that PBS was asked to compile final report within a shortest possible time as the elections were also approaching near. The committee was of the view that all the concerned quarters would be requested to help in reassessment of the process. Earlier, briefing the committee, Chief Census Commissioner, Asif Bajwa said that the committee must identify the blocks where it suspects any manipulation. He said that post enumeration exercise reassessment was not an easy job and as per the standard practices, 5 percent of the total population needed to be reassessed, adding that it would require engagement of army personnel and other census staff. Bajwa said that May 2018 was the deadline for detailed compilation of census results, however added that the PBS would provide the detailed results by April end. Bajwa clarified that the reason there was not much difference in the population of Karachi and Lahore was that the provincial government of Punjab had declared the entire Lahore district as urban, while two districts in Karachi were still classified as rural. Clarifying the misconception about population of transgender, he said that only those who had declared themselves as transgender were included in the category. He said that in total Rs17.26 billion were spent on the whole process and the PBS surrendered Rs1.24 billion to the national exchequer, as earlier, an amount of Rs18.5 billion budget was earmarked for the process. Elaborating reasons for dropping of population growth rate from 3.06 percent in 1981 to 2.69 percent in 1998 and 2.4 percent in 2017, Bajwa said that urbanization was considered one of the factors of declining growth rate. Among others, the meeting of the committee was attended by senators Hamza, Saleem Mandviwalla and top officials of PBS.  Meanwhile, Minister of State for Power Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali on Tuesday said that whole census process was completed on merit and federal government endorses it. Talking to media outside the Parliament House, the minister said that all figures of the census were accurate and the government has fulfilled its responsibilities in this regard. He said that personals of armed forces were also involved in the process of census adding that no one should make it controversial and must respect national institutions.—APP

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