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No direct role of Army in upcoming census: Minister Asad Umar


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Federal Minister for Planning and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has said the Pakistan Army won’t have a direct role in the seventh population census.

“It will be restricted to security,” he revealed at the inauguration ceremony of the country’s first National Census Coordination Centre. The population count will be for the “first time” digitalized.

“Latest technology will be used in collecting the information which will make the process fast, accurate and easy,” Umar said.

According to the Constitution, he pointed out, a population census should be held after every 10 years but we have seen delays of up to 18 years that lead to controversies and accusations.

But the new system will change this and all the provinces will be in coordination. “Census support centers will be opened in over 600 districts and tablets will be used for data collection.”

This year, the government has allotted Rs25 billion for the census and it is expected to be completed by December 2022. Of this, Rs11 billion will be spent on software and yard ware.

The minister briefed that pilot tests will begin in May and June, while fieldwork will commence in August and September. Then in November, a post-census audit will be conducted. He further ruled out the need for curfew during the process.

Initially, the federal cabinet had approved Rs5 billion for it but the amount was later increased in the budget.

The minister reasoned this with accurate data and called it very important for the population count. The digitalization will set a precedent for the upcoming censuses, he said, adding that the 2023 elections will be based on the new census.

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