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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said each and every person, except illegal immigrants and foreigners, must be counted in population census, as it provides basis for political representation in the assemblies, delimitation of constituencies, distribution of funds from divisible pool and determination of quota for recruitment to all civil positions in the federal government.

He stated this while presiding over a cabinet meeting after deferring the consideration of all other items on the agenda to have a detailed presentation and discussion on population census followed by a briefing by a representative of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).

All ministers, advisers and special assistants to CM besides the chief secretary, provincial police chief, chief statistician, Nadra representative and other senior officials attended the meeting, which was held at New Sindh Secretariat on Monday.Other than population and housing census, the items on the cabinet meeting agenda included law and order, food authority bill, conflict interest bills, law regarding collection of Ushr and Panah Shelter Home.

The census will be conducted in two phases with a gap of 10 days. The first phase will begin from March 15 in Karachi, Hyderabad and Ghotki, followed by the phase to cover all other Sindh districts.

‘Each and every person, except illegal immigrants and foreigners, must be counted’

According to a schedule, a three-day house listing will be completed from March 15 to 17; followed by filing up of Form-2 till March 27; enumeration of homeless population in one block per day on March 28; retrieval of filled-in documents and issuance of census material for second block from March 29 to 30. The second phase will complete house listing operation from May 11 to May 13.

The census operation will require a field force of 28,038 enumerators and supervisors for which the employees of education, revenue, local government, population welfare and other departments are being appointed. The training of trainers and enumerators will begin on Jan 24 and Feb 4, respectively. Some 183 trainers will train 28,038 field staff in 704 batches.

Each enumerator, accompanied by a soldier, will independently record the number of each household and the CNIC number of the head or any other member of the household.

Vigilance teams will be formed at district level to monitor census work and ensure complete coverage of population.

Earlier briefing the cabinet on census plan, Chief Statistician Asif Bajwa said the sixth population & housing census, which was due in 2008, would be conducted from March 15, 2017 as approved by the council of common interest on Dec 16, last year.

The cabinet was told that the house listing and census operation would be carried out in one-go. Form 2 would be used in census operation while Form 2-A would be filled in on a sample basis after the census operation. On this, provincial minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said Form 2-A carried information about migration, age, disability and other important points. The form must be included in the census in a formal way, said Mr Chawla. The chief minister assured him that he would take up the issue with the federal government.The cabinet was also told that for complete coverage and effective field supervision, the country has been delimited on four tiers: census districts, census charge, census circles and the census blocks comprising 200 to 250 houses.

The chief minister was informed that provisional results would be declared within 60 days with advance tabulation on important characteristics to be made and regular reports would be made public. The subject wise/analytical reports on important topics and census atlas giving visual presentation of census days would be also be issued.

Taking part in the question answers session, provincial minister Manzoor Wassan said that only six religions and 10 languages have been reflected in the census form by ignoring Zoroastrians and their languages such as Gujrati and Kathiawari . The chief minister pointed out that the mother tongue of father of nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohamad Ali Jinnah was Gujrati and it should have been included in the form. In this way it would have been easy to assess how many Zoroastrians, Gujrati and others live in Sindh. The chief minister said he would take up this issue with the federal government.

Senior minister Nisar Khuhro said that there was no proper mechanism to file objections and remove them. There should have been an elected representative for monitoring. On this he was told that the supervision committee has an elected local body representative.

22.4m CNICs

Nadra representative Mr Sohail said CNICs had been issued to 22.4 million people while a population of 3.3 million aged less than 18 years.

Replying to a question, he said Nadra had 30 mobile vehicles to issue CNIC, of them 13 would be sent to the areas where CNICs were required to be issued. On this the chief minister said that in consultation with his cabinet members he would identify the areas where CNIC were required to be issued and inform Nadra to send its teams there. But he said 13 mobile teams, who could issue up to 100 CNICs a day, would not be enough for the exercise. The cabinet decided to approach the federal government to enhance its mobile teams.

The cabinet was also informed that some 15,000 people had not collected their CNICs. The chief minister assured the official that divisional and district administration would support Nadra in delivering the cards.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2017