Sindh urged to appoint census focal person

The census monitoring committee allowed the Sindh government on Wednesday to nominate one of its provincial ministers as a focal person for a more coordinated communication in order to speed up the ongoing national headcount operation.

Census Plans:

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal chaired the 7th meeting of the Census Monitoring Committee to review progress in the country’s first digital census activities, field operations and other related issues, according to a said a press release issued here.

“The meeting resolved that the Sindh government should nominate a member of its cabinet as a focal person to facilitate more coordinated communication and expedite the census operation,” it added.

In the meeting, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Chief Dr. Naeem Zafar briefed the participants about the progress in the census process. Ahsan Iqbal said on the occasion, the government was working in collaboration with all the provinces on conducting a digital census.

Meanwhile, the minister directed the authorities concerned to launch an effective media campaign for projecting the ongoing census and creating awareness among the masses about the difference between the digital census and the traditional census conducted in the past.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Chairman National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), PBS chief, chief secretaries of Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, and senior officials attended the meeting.

The development came a day after the PPP had threatened to quit the federal ministries, forcing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led coalition government to allow the provincial governments to access the census monitoring dashboards.

Financial Crisis:

The federal government has primarily decided to grant access to the provincial governments, particularly Sindh, in order to encourage their crucial support and discourage any second thoughts during a period of political upheaval and severe financial crises leading up to the general elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

In addition, Dr. Naeem Uz Zafar, the Chief Statistician of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), stated in a letter addressed to the Chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) that they have decided to include the statistics required by the provincial governments, particularly Sindh, in the monitoring dashboard.

The Chief Census Commissioner stated that they have already deployed the dashboard for chief secretaries and suggested that the role-based access of the same should be provided to all provincial/regional chief secretaries, commissioners, deputy commissioners (DCs), and assistant commissioners (ACs).

Therefore, the sensitivity of the matter, Zafar stated, NADRA teams be directed to assure access to the dashboard by March 15 to all the DCs and ACs “at all census district level for broader involvement, transparency and credibility of this national activity of extreme importance”.

PPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had recently threatened to quit the ruling coalition over objections to the ongoing digital census as well as if the Centre does not fulfill its promises of giving relief to flood victims of Sindh.

Published on Logical Baat, March 16, 2023.

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