Census: Need to address dropout issue

Cases of census dropout is an issue in many of the dzongkhags today. Paro has the highest number of more than 240 cases.

Many factors could be contributing to this situation. What is starkly clear, though, is that there are lapses from the responsible offices in the gewogs and dzongkhags. Also, there seems to be lack of awareness among the people on when and how to update their census.

Local leaders say that census documents go missing from the dzongkhag administration. If that is true, there is a need to fix the system of collecting data at the dzongkhag headquarters.

There are only two things that can be done to eliminate the problem of census dropout – sensitise the people about census rules and regulations and systematise data collection procedures and recording systems at the dzongkhag level. It has been reported that in some cases census dropout happen when officials do not follow proper handing-taking procedures.

Because most of the census documents go missing from the dzongkhags, local leaders say that officers in the dzongkhags who misplace the documents should be called to answer. The argument is logical. Officials responsible should square up to their lapses and make sure that such shoddy execution of their responsibility does not repeat in the future. The sooner we iron out such administrative lapses, the better.

One of the problems is that we tend to take things very lightly. Parents do not register a child’s census within the stipulated time period. This is one of the main causes leading to census dropout. People rely on gewog and dzongkhag officials and do not bother to see if they have updated their census.

Such carelessness gives rise to complicated problems for individuals and families. One can re-register dropout cases, but the verification processes can often be lengthy and cumbersome. To avoid such complications, therefore, verifying whether one’s census has been updated is important. In fact, people now can easily verify their census records at the community centres in the gewogs.

It is imperative that our people know when and how to update their census. If it requires taking sensitisation programmes down to the villages, so be it.

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