Yangyel Lhaden

The National Statistics Bureau (NSB), by the end of this year, will publish details on how poverty and livelihoods have changed in the country in the past five years.

The bureau conducts Bhutan Living Standard Survey (BLSS) to collect data on socio-economic indicators to update the country’s poverty level and monitor poverty-related indicators.

A total of 13,600 households will be surveyed nationwide in the survey which began on April 28.

The survey is expected to take 45 days by 190 university graduates selected as enumerators from their locality to conduct the survey.

Project Manager Phuntsho Dorji said that the duration of the survey would depend on the sample size allocated in the respective thromdes and dzongkhags. “The sampling frame is based on Population and Housing Census of Bhutan 2017.”

He said that the questionnaires of the survey were in line with the changing needs of the country. “The questionnaire was developed with numerous consultations with the World Bank as well as with the internal stakeholders to standardise the questionnaires in our context.”

The questionnaire in the survey ranges from socio-economic and demographic profiles to household characteristics and expenditure.

Phuntsho Dorji said that questions include consumption expenditure of food and non-food items of the household and household characteristics such as asset ownership, and housing characteristics.

He said that under the health module the questions included the expenditure of the household for the purchase of masks and sanitisers.

Phuntsho Dorji said that the data from the survey would update the weight required for estimation of the consumer price index and in estimating Gross Domestic Product. “The data will also guide to assess and monitor plan and policies of the government.”

The first BLSS was conducted in 2003. The second, third, and fourth surveys were conducted in 2007, 2012, and 2017 respectively.

Phuntsho Dorji said that interval of the survey was based on the pretext of the questionnaire in different regions considering the time taken.

The report of BLSS is expected to be published by end of this year.