ISLAMABAD: In a major step towards conduct of the first-ever digital census in the country, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) on Monday signed a contract that will enable the former to ensure population data collection and compilation with precision and accuracy within a minimum time frame.

Nadra will develop solution for the digital census across the country through android-based smart devices and IT system under the contract inked here at PBS headquarters.

With the new digital system, the PBS would provide census data to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in a timely manner, thus facilitating delimitation of constituencies in a swift and accurate manner, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal told journalists after the attending the signing ceremony.

The Council of Common Interest (CCI) had earlier proposed that the upcoming census be conducted by adopting modern technologies and digital tools. As per recommendations of the council, the PBS approached Nadra to present a comprehensive technical proposal for carrying out the first ever-digital census in the country in 2022.

The minister expressed the hope that the system would also ensure transparency and accountability of enumerators and supervisors.

Critical to democracy, economy

Nadra chairman Tariq Malik said the decision to conduct the digital census reflects a consensus on a transparent census without any prejudice.

Sharing features of the digital census app, Mr Malik said Nadra had devised an exclusive complete turnkey solution for carrying out digital census.

The solution included development and deployment of android-based house listings and enumeration application synchronised with global positioning system (GPS) and geographical information system (GIS), data centre services, call centre services, establishment of technical support centres at each tehsil level along with online web portal for general public with other allied services, he said.

The Nadra chairman expressed the hope that the census app shall also have online and offline support with seamless data synchronisation feature. The system shall support PBS at all the three stages of census — pre-census stage, census stage and post-census stage, he added.

For the purpose, Nadra will also impart necessary training to PBS staff and field enumerators.

Under the agreement, Nadra will also extend data center services for centralised repository of census data along with digital imageries at the PBS. In addition, an exclusive web portal along with call centre services shall also be developed.

As per deal, a user-friendly web-based portal will have a self-enumeration feature so that the general public can register themselves in case of their non-availability at the time of census.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2022

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