Pakistan launches its first digital census

Islamabad, Mar. 1 (BNA): Pakistan’s first digital census began on Wednesday with the aim of collecting demographic data on every individual nationwide in an effort accompanied by tight security measures, officials said on Wednesday.

More than 121,000 enumerators wearing green vests have fanned out across the country to collect data, said Mohammad Sarwar Gondal, a spokesman for the Statistics Bureau of Pakistan leading the exercise.

Gondal told the dpa news agency that 86,000 police officers were deployed in 156 districts across the country in the month-long exercises. He said that along with a police officer accompanying each individual, thousands of troops have been deployed to take part in the exercises, given the escalation of violence in the past months.

“Digital census is a step that takes Pakistan out of the ancient past and opens doors to the modern future. From written responses on millions of papers to data validated in real time in applications on secure devices using satellite imagery, [this] It is a step towards digital Pakistan,” Tariq Malik, Chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), told dpa.

Malik said that big data from the census will become the foundational system for evidence-based policy-making for Pakistan.

The census aims to reduce costs and improve accuracy since the results of previous exercises have been marred by allegations of miscalculation and exclusion of some groups.

Key demographic data on urbanization, migration, size of different age groups, ethnic and language backgrounds of people, genders including transgender, educational qualifications and disabilities are collected in exercise.

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Preliminary results are expected on April 20.

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