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Pakistan Nadra hands over 126,000 tablets to PBS for digital census


Jul 31, 2015
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ISLAMABAD: In a significant move towards commencement of the first-ever digital population and housing census, the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) on Sunday handed over the last batch of 126,000 Android tablet computers to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

It, however, continues to remain an enigma if fresh delimitation will be carried out for the upcoming general polls or otherwise.

Nadra Chairman Tariq Malik handed over the secure tablets powered by a software indigenously developed by Nadra to PBS chief statistician Dr Naeem-uz-Zafar.

A key component of the seventh Population and Housing Census was the delivery of 126,000 tablets. Nadra has ensured timely assembling and delivery of the hardware through 40 containers in five batches of 21,600 tablets each.

It is unclear if fresh delimitation will be carried out for upcoming general polls or otherwise
Nadra chairman also visited the software development facility, hardware hardening assembly line and dispatch facility housed at PBS headquarters.

Distribution of these tablets in 495 census districts across the country turned out to be a challenging task. Nadra successfully completed the gigantic exercise in nine days to supplement the enormous training of more than 90,000 enumerators at 932 venues.

Mr Malik lauded efforts of the Nadra team of more than 100 experts that achieved a major milestone of assembling and distribution of 126,000 tablet computers within a short timeframe.

The team efficiently ruggedised and hardened the huge number of tablets at the assembly line facility.

Speaking on the occasion, the Nadra chairman said: “Digital census is step that pulls Pakistan out of ancient past and opens the door of modern future.

“From scribbled responses on millions of paper sheets to real time validated data in apps on secure devices with the satellite imagery is a step towards Digital Pakistan,” he said.

“Big data from digital census would become foundational system for evidence-based policy making for Pakistan,” he noted.

Nadra developed the digital solution for digital census using modern Agile Methodology in just three weeks’ time.

The comprehensive digital solution includes development and deployment of Android-based house listings and enumeration application synchronised with global positioning system (GPS) and geographical information system (GIS), data centre services, call centre services, establishment of technical support centres at each tehsil level along with online web portal for general public with other allied services.

The Android-based census digital application has online and offline support with seamless data synchronisation feature. The system will support the PBS in all three stages of census — pre-census, census stage and post-census stage.

Nadra is the technological partner of PBS for the first digital census activity. The mandate of Nadra in this gigantic national exercise is to provide services pertaining to the IT domain to make the census activity a remarkable success. This will resultantly make the census process more transparent and by incorporating technology and digitalisation, it will ensure documentation of the entire population.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had on December 16 linked the conduct of fresh delimitation with official notification of the final results of the yet-to-commence exercise of the first digital census results by March 31, 2023.

The decision was taken after calculation of the minimum time required with squeezed timelines through an in-house discussion and it was conveyed to the government.

The ECP had previously been ruling out fresh delimitation in case the final notification of the census results was issued after Dec 31, 2022.

Though Nadra has met the deadline to complete its job, it is unclear if the yet to commence digital census exercise would be completed before the end of March.

Chief Statistician of PBS Dr Naeem uz Zafar when contacted told Dawn that the field work would be completed in the first week of March followed by data validation.

He said that the validation of data on block level might take two to three weeks after which the data would be placed before the Council of Common Interest (CCI) for approval.

In reply to a question, he said even if it was assumed that the final notification was not issued by March 31, there was a room under Article 51(5) of the Constitution for the conduct of general elections on the basis of the previous census results.

The Article 51(5) of the Constitution provides that seats in the National Assembly shall be allocated to each province, and the federal capital on the basis of the population in accordance with the last preceding census officially published.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2023
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