In any part of the world census has a multidimensional significance. Census is a periodic count of a given country’s population. The estimates that generate because of the practice help in formulation of state policies and the figures are employed to determine futuristic requirements with regard to employment, education, health, socio-economical needs, food, water, shelter, death/birth rates, industrialization, living standards, tax calculations, security etc.
According to the experts: “Census should be conducted in every ten years to estimate and compute the needs of the inhabitants”. However, in Pakistan census is finally being conducted after 19 years. It is the sixth census since Pakistan came into being. The first census was conducted in 1951. The population back then was 75 million of East and West Pakistan included where as in 1961 it was almost 93 million. In 1972 after the separation of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) it was 65.3 million, in 1981 83.7 million and in 1998 it was recorded at 134.71 million.
The sixth census will be conducted in two different phases and will be completed by May, 2017. The first phase began from 18th March, 2017. During the current phase 63 districts of all the provinces have been selected. These include 16 districts of Punjab, 14 of KPK, 15 of Balochistan, 8 of Sindh alongside 5 each from Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
This is for the very first time that following orders from the Supreme Court of Pakistan, a separate box in the form has been allocated to register transgender people and those who are affected because of disabilities.
The enumerators are being accompanied by officials from the armed forces. Pakistan Bureau of Statistics is entertaining and rectifying all complaints through its control room. The entire process is response based and enumerators write down information given by respondents. The questions in the forms are simple and can easily be answered.
Alhamdulillah, the entire census so far has been conducted in a rather smooth manner and we all hope that the practice should make way for development policies that are more comprehensive in nature and strategies that should help the country go a long way.