KATHMANDU, Feb 6: With the mobilization of enumerators for rehearsal of a new census to be held in seven districts, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) is gearing up for the first post-conflict census in a country poised to switch to federalism.
CBS is all set to carry out a series of training programs for enumerators and supervisors from Sunday. After completion of all the programs, CBS will deploy over 130 enumerators and supervisors in Kathmandu, Mahottari, Ilam, Syangja, Doti, Banke and Jumla districts. CBS will correct errors to be found in questionnaires in the course of rehearsal for the census 2011.
Census 2011 is expected to unearth some interesting changes that have occurred in Nepali society during the last decade, which was marked by conflict. CBS asserts that the new census is to be the most accurate and comprehensive ever as it goes for a Global Positioning System (GPS) with detailed questionnaires.
"The upcoming census will be a historic one as we are covering a wide range of issues like never before," says Bikash Bista, Deputy Director General of CBS. Besides, it is believed GPS--which maps settlements geographically for data collection--will boost the authenticity of the new census. In the past, CBS used to rely on political divisions for population census.
In the census of 2011, CBS is likely to deal carefully with the impact of the conflict. In the past decade, thousands of people have migrated within the country because of the conflict. And, thousand more have gone overseas for fear of being trapped between conflicting forces.
"In the decade gone by, migration--within the country and abroad--was no longer merely an act of pursuing better livelihoods," says Damodar Gyawali, a statistics officer at CBS. "It turned out be an act of fleeing war as well." The new census is expected to expose intriguing compositions of population, with as many as 30 percent of people settled in urban areas.
In spite of bloody war, the past decade witnessed a revolutionary change in telecommunications. The new census is likely to gauge people´s growing access to mobile, wireless phones and internet services. Besides, the movement of third genders has gained over the decade. The upcoming census will count the number of third genders as well for the first time.
In 2011, CBS will recruit over 35,000 enumerators, almost double the number deployed in the previous census. In that census CBS had deployed only about 20,000 enumerators. CBS has decided to recruit 40 percent women enumerators as the fair sex will be more instrumental in terms of discovering the actual situation of the other half.
For the first time, Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) will be incorporated into the census. In addition, enumerators will be asking people about their sub-castes to discover caste-wise population patterns. "In the past, we figured out, for example, only the number of Limbus," Gyawali says. "We deal with various sub-castes within Limbus this time."
Interestingly, officials at CBS expect that the number of Hindus, the largest religion of the country, will probably shrink in the next census. With the country becoming a secular state, many people may come out openly to be registered as followers of other religions. CBS has already added the category of Sikhs under its question on religion.
Unlike in the past, Census 2011 will deal with educational status, the number of physically disabled persons and structure of houses, water sources and toilets in greater depth. Earlier, CBS used to carry out just sample surveys to come up with these indicators of social development.