The federal government on Monday approved the official release of the Census-2017 results which had been withheld for the last couple of years, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar confirmed.
The decision was taken during a virtual meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) — a body that resolves the disputes of power-sharing between the federation and provinces — with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.
Following the meeting, minister Asad Umar held a press conference and said majority of the provinces have agreed to accept the results of Census 2017 and officially publish them.
“Since elections are held on the basis of the census, we will begin preparations for the next census in September or October this year,” Asad Umar said, adding that work on the basic structure of carrying out census will be completed within six to eight weeks.
“We will complete the new census by March 23,” Asad Umar announced. “The government will also form constituencies on the basis of the new census data before the general elections of 2023.”
He added that for the upcoming census — which will take 18 months to complete — the government will use technology as well as the principles related to the census laid out by the United Nations.
It should be recalled that the 44th meeting of the CCI had taken place last week in which different provinces expressed their opinions regarding the release of the Census-2017 data, after which the council had decided to convene a virtual meeting today to make a final decision in this regard.
According to sources, while Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa insisted on releasing the census data, Sindh demanded the census be held anew in the province so that the consolidated data could be released together. During the last meeting, Balochistan had said that it needs more time to deliberate over the matter.
Last week, the CCI had approved the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s Annual Report for 2019-20 and State of Industry Report 2020 and had also given a nod to the amendment in Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Policy 2012.
As directed by CCI’s 43rd meeting, the observations of the provinces were incorporated into NEPRA’s Annual Report 2018-19 and State of Industry Report, 2019, and the reports presented before the meeting were approved.
On the issue of importing LNG, a committee comprising of minister for planning, minister for energy, and SAPM for Power and petroleum had been formed to hold consultations with the provinces to evolve a consensus in meeting the challenge of dwindling local gas reserves and increasing domestic gas requirements.
On the educational front, it was decided the Higher Education Commission (HEC) would be the sole standard-setting national organisation with regards to higher education in the country.