Population and housing census next May

7,000 civil servants to conduct the census next year

Survey: About 64 National Statistics Bureau (NSB) officials and temporary staff are going across the four thromdes listing houses and establishments preparing for the population and housing census of Bhutan (PHCB 2016) in May next year.

On December 21, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay issued a government order calling the conduct of the census.

The government would declare two days holiday on May 30 and 31 next year for the census during which all are asked to remain in their respective residence or institutions.

If you have seen the listing stickers on your houses do not remove or damage them, it is illegal according to the government order.

The house listing will count the total structures and determine the occupied ones that would be divided among the enumerators for the census. The listing exercise would continue till April next year.

A listing sticker on a house in Changzamtog, Thimphu

A listing sticker on a house in Changzamtog, Thimphu

NSB’s PHCB 2016’s project manager, Tashi Dorji, said 400 people would be deployed in January to list in the remaining districts. The actual census in May could employ more than 7,000 civil servants.

“We’d complete the house listing by March and train the enumerators and supervisors in the next two months,” Tashi Dorji said.

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

“The government has now decided to provide about Nu 200 million for the census,” NSB Director General and the Census Commissioner Kuenga Tshering said.

The census would 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.

“The draft questionnaire will be discussed at the consultation meeting on January 4 with other government agencies,” Tashi Dorji said.

Kuenga Tshering said that with the launch of international Sustainable Development Goals, data would play a critical role in development planning.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay during a press conference recently said, reliable statistics are very important not only to achieve sustainable development goals but also to assess whether we have been successful at achieving 11th Plan goals.

“What is important is that we have to make National Statistics Bureau strong, not just for SDGs but also to keep track of development activities in the country,” he said.

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

Until the 2005 PHCB, survey and census did not follow international norms and hence cannot be compared with other countries nor were proper records maintained for ready reference and retrieval.

Tshering Palden

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