It is yet to be determined when the population and housing census will be held 

Statistics: In what should put to rest rumours, May 30 and 31 will not be holidays.

The Population and Housing Census of Bhutan 2016 planned on May 30 and 31 has been postponed due to technical reasons.

While the government had not declared it as a holiday, many across the nation expected it to be a holiday based on a similar occurrence during the 2005 census.

Some civil servants and students oblivious of the developments, called the National Statistical Bureau (NSB) to clarify and even this paper to confirm if May 30 and 31 were holidays because of the census.

On May 16, the NSB issued a notification to the dzongkhag statistical officers to cease all activities until further notice.

The Census Management Team at the National Census Secretariat informed the public on its social media of the change.

“We will not be able to conduct the 2016 Population and Housing Census of Bhutan on the dates notified earlier (30 & 31 May),” it said. “It is deferred for some technical reasons.”

It said that the management would notify the general public of the new dates as soon as it is finalised.

About 7,000 civil servants, mostly teachers as enumerators, will be involved in conducting the census.

The organisers deputed 429 officials from January 2016 to conduct the house listing and mapping exercise in all the dzongkhags in preparation for the actual census.

In December last year Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay issued a government order calling for the conduct of the census.

While the census should have been conducted last year, 10 years after the first one in 2005, there was no budget to do so.

The government has decided to provide about Nu 200 million for the census.

The census will collect population data and basic housing information on health, education, employment and language, among others, for various administrative and planning purposes. It would count all people living in the country during the census irrespective of nationality.

With the UN Sustainable Development Goals, data plays a critical role in development planning.

The first census in the country was undertaken during the reign of Desi Chogyal Sherub Wangchuk between 1744 and 1763.

Until the 2005 survey, censuses did not follow international norms and so could not be compared with other countries, nor were proper records maintained for ready reference and retrieval.

Tshering Palden