It is the duty of all citizens to provide accurate information to the CBS to make the national census a great success

The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) is conducting the 12th national census-2021 from November 11 to 25 with the aim of reaching every citizen and not repeating a single person. Three days before the formal beginning of the national census, the CBS authorities have highlighted the importance of the census and sought help from all walks of life to make it a grand success. Preliminary readings of the data prepared by the CBS have estimated that there are around seven million households in the country with a national population of 30 million. As many as 40,000 enumerators and 8,016 superintendents have undergone a series of trainings and are ready to be dispatched to the field for the national census. Similarly, the CBS has also said that it has built up a mechanism from the federal level down to the ward level. A total of 57 district census offices have been set up in all 77 districts, with an additional 10 offices in the most populated districts. Similarly, 349 local level census offices have been established in the local levels as per the requirement.

The census includes 80 questionnaires, with 25 questions related to listing of houses, which have already been conducted about a month ago. So, each household will be asked a maximum of 55 questions, which is projected to take 20 to 25 minutes, as per the CBS. The census will cover four major fields, including social, economic, geological and physical infrastructure, and people's head counting will be done on the basis of the principle of inclusion in various subjects such as ethnicity, language, religion, sex, social class, geology, disability, age, income, gender or gender minorities, among others.

The CBS has already identified 127 ethnic groups in the country.

During the media briefing, Director General of the CBS Nebin Lal Shrestha assured the people that all information provided by them would be kept safe and their privacy would be well-respected.

As per the Statistics Act 2015, legal action could be taken against anyone refusing to provide information.

Earlier, it was reported that the enumerators faced difficulty in getting accurate information from the urban centres when they conducted the household surveys. It is the duty of all citizens to provide accurate information sought by the CBS so that appropriate national planning, development projects and other policies could be formulated in any given field. Only correct data will give a clear picture of the country, which will be useful in formulating plans and policies. So, all the political parties and their cadres should encourage the people to take part in the national census. Preliminary results of the total population – male and female – will be made public within three months, but it might take at least two years to break down all information as per the topics included in the national census. However, the CBS is facing difficulty in conducting the census in the Kalapani region, especially the Limpiyadhura area, which was included in the country's administrative map in May 2020. The CBS authorities have said they would collect sample data from the accessible region to ascertain the estimated number of people and their socio-economic conditions of the region, which has been occupied by India for the last 60 years.

Neglected village

Nepal's difficult terrain makes development an arduous task in the hinterlands. As a result, even today, many villages are without basic facilities and amenities, such as rural roads, potable drinking water, electricity or a health post. This is the case of a village, Lampata, in northern Bajura of Sudurpaschim Province. In the absence of a bridge, the locals must walk for five days to reach the district headquarters, Martadi, while no one – children or pregnant women – have been vaccinated. With just 13 households, the village has escaped the attention of the government, both central, provincial and local level.

It is apparent that the village has been neglected for years, probably because of its remoteness and the small size. However, even if there cannot be much development activity here, at least the inhabitants should be able to feel the presence of the government, which is encouraging people to engage in illegal activities. By leaving the inhabitants to their fate, the state is doing great injustice to them. It is morally wrong for the state to be importing luxurious goods for the consumption by a chosen few on the one hand, while depriving other citizens of even basic health care on the other.

A version of this article appears in the print on November 10, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.