The commencement of the Seventh Housing and Population Census amidst multiple crises in the nation is a daring move. However, to pave the way for a better future, this crucial operation must be carried out with utmost transparency and credibility, to avoid the critical questions raised about the accuracy of the 2017 headcount. With enumerators fanning out across Pakistan, the drive to encourage self-enumeration on the dedicated PBS portal has already begun. The most striking feature of this exercise is that it has been hailed as the country’s first ‘digital census’, thanks to the use of technology to record data. If technology, such as the tablets used by the enumerators, is fully utilized, many of the gaps in past counts – intentional or otherwise – can be addressed to provide a more precise picture of the nation’s current demographic trends.
Population counts were a regular feature until the 1981 census, held every decade or so. However, the fifth and sixth censuses were conducted after unacceptably wide gaps. On the flip side, the current operation is being carried out ahead of schedule, considering the magnitude of complaints regarding the 2017 headcount.
With the advent of technology, it’s high time that the census is digitized to minimize inaccuracies and data manipulations. It’s no secret that past censuses have been plagued by gaps, which can be attributed to deliberate tampering or a lack of technology. However, with the digital census in full swing, it’s high time that technology is utilized to its fullest potential to address these gaps.
Despite the current crises in the nation, the census is a vital exercise that cannot be overlooked. In fact, it is even more critical now to have an accurate picture of the nation’s population and demographics to plan for a better future. The use of technology in the census will also ensure that the data is easily accessible and can be analyzed efficiently to inform policies and decision-making.
The Seventh Housing and Population Census has recently kicked off amidst a plethora of predicaments that the nation is grappling with. However, in order to plan for a better future, this pivotal exercise needs to be carried out in a manner that is both transparent and credible. The previous headcount in 2017 raised serious questions about its accuracy, and the current census needs to avoid any such controversies. Enumerators have already started fanning out across the country, and the drive to encourage self-enumeration on the PBS portal has already begun. This exercise has been dubbed as the country’s first ‘digital census’ and is being conducted with the use of technology to record data. If technology, such as the tablets carried by enumerators, is utilized to its fullest potential, many of the shortcomings of past counts can be addressed to produce a more accurate picture of the nation’s current demographic trends.
The importance of having accurate demographic data cannot be overstated, as it affects everything from resource distribution to the allocation of seats in the legislatures. The 2017 headcount had raised concerns about the undercounting of urban areas in Sindh, and many independent experts have concurred with this assessment. Given the trend of rural-urban migration, it is imperative that the PBS comes up with accurate numbers this time around. In addition, there have been issues with the portal itself, which may not inspire confidence about the future if people are having trouble registering their particulars. However, if reliable data is captured in real time, and technology is utilized to help analyze and sort this data, malfeasance complaints can be suitably addressed. Political parties, civil society, and most importantly, the people of Pakistan need to be assured that the count will be fair and help pave the way for a better-planned future.
Issues have also arisen with the digital portal itself. If individuals are having difficulty registering their details, it raises doubts about the future. However, if reliable data is collected in real-time and technology is leveraged to analyze and sort the data, it can address any allegations of wrongdoing. It is essential that political parties, civil society, and, above all, the people of Pakistan are reassured that the count will be fair and will pave the way for a better-planned future.
While the census is a significant undertaking, it’s imperative to ensure that it’s conducted transparently and credibly. The credibility of the census can be easily called into question if the data is manipulated or inaccurate. Hence, the authorities must prioritize transparency and ensure that all the data collected is authentic and reliable.
In conclusion, the digital census is a step in the right direction towards achieving accurate population counts and demographics. It’s a necessary exercise that must be conducted transparently and credibly to avoid the mistakes of the past. With technology at our disposal, there’s no excuse for gaps or inaccuracies in the data collected. The authorities must take responsibility and ensure that the census is conducted flawlessly to pave the way for a better future.