ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday said the next general elections in the country would be held on the basis of data compiled through the 7th population census (digital census) in October 2023.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of training of master trainers for the 7th Population and Housing Census, the minister said the government would spend about Rs34 billion on this exercise of vital importance that would help in framing economic policies and ensure equitable distribution of resources among all stakeholders for the development of the country.
He said the government is providing Rs13.5bn to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), which would arrange digital solutions, adding that it would be the first digital census that would help swift completion of the process.
He said an offline data collection system would also be available for areas out of internet coverage, adding that this census would also determine whether the population was on an increasing or decreasing trend.
The minister said the census was a constitutional obligation on the basis of which the government determines the National Finance Commission Award and distributes national resources for just development of all areas.
Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan was ranked among the rapidly population-growing countries. He said due to an increase in population the availability of basic civic facilities like education, health and clean drinking water was reducing whereas the per-capita availability of water and agriculture land was also on the decline.
He said a huge bulge of local population comprised youth, which was a blessing if “we could provide them proper education and skills for economic development of the country”.
He said that in the meantime the increasing polarisation would push this national dividend into extremism and called for creating balance between resources and challenges. The minister said economic stability was not possible overnight, adding that it required proper time and continuity in policies and political stability.
Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2022