Bangladesh population

Population census of June 15, digitally

The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) is set to conduct its sixth population and housing census digitally for the first time from June 15-21.

The BBS made the announcement during a press briefing at the National Economic Council yesterday.

“Around 3.7 lakh surveyors will collect the data across the country. To measure the quality of the data, we will conduct a post-census survey in 350 selected sample areas,” said Md Dilder Hossain, project manager.

Authorities will collect data from each household using a computer-assisted personal interview system, a geographic information system and electronic tablets.

Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid is expected to unveil a commemorative stamp on the project while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will deliver a speech on June 14 making the announcement.

Speaking as guest of honour, Planning Minister MA Mannan said he did not see the need for intervals between each census to be 10 years.

“Censuses are completed in countries around the world in five years or less. So why should we wait 10 years? We also need to use modern technology to complete the census in a timely manner,” he said.

“We were supposed to do the census last year, but we went back and forth for some reason,” Mannan added.

The first issue was the ongoing coronavirus pandemic while the second was the proposals to purchase the tablet computers rejected by the purchasing committee three times, he said.

Moreover, they first thought of filling in the census manually but eventually decided to do it digitally, he added.

“I went to the procurement committee again and again with maximum transparency and explained our needs to them,” he said, adding that they wanted to emphasize the accuracy and timeliness of the census.

Prof Shamsul Alam, Minister of State for Planning, said the transition to a digital census was a big journey for the government.

“We hope we will have the final report soon,” he added.

Mohammad Tajul Islam, Director General of BBS, was present at the event, which was chaired by Shahanz Arefin, Secretary for Statistics and Information Systems of the Ministry of Planning.

The first population census in Bangladesh was conducted in 1974. Subsequently, population and housing censuses were conducted again in 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2011.