Mr. Chaudhury Sajid Rasul, Director General of the Punjab Bureau of Statistics visited the Graduate Institute of Development Studies (GIDS), Lahore School of Economics on 22nd March 2023.
His presentation was based on the 7th Population and Housing Census of Pakistan by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. Mr. Rasul presented the methodology used in designing the digital census after briefly commenting on the need to digitalize the census exercise. He shared that there were reservations regarding the quality and accuracy of data in the previous Population Census of 2017 that lead to the next round of census to be conducted earlier in 2023 than the ten year planned gap. Digitally conducting the census, he emphasized, allowed for wider acceptability of results by ensuring transparency in data collection through geo-tagging using the Geographic Information System (GIS).
The new digital census design methodology featured a self-enumeration process through a web portal which was made available from February 20, 2023, till March 10, 2023, after which a unique token / QR code were issued to the household through the web portal. In the 2nd step of data collection field operations commenced from March 1, 2023, where enumerators physically verify the self-enumerated data or otherwise collect data electronically through tablets. The process will continue till April 4, 2023. In this way, the digital census exercise will help avoid overlapping in data collection and providing an approximate coverage of 85% – 95%. He further added that the 2023 digital census uses the de-jure method of data collection, whereby the persons are counted according to their usual place of residence using a six-month time frame. The questionnaire used for data collection was also shared with the participants.
In addition, he also shared other datasets that were being collected by the Punjab Bureau of Statistics and have the potential to be used by MPhil students for their thesis. His presentation was followed by an interactive Q&A session.