KATHMANDU, Nov 29: Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), which is gearing up for the first ever post-war census, has decided to not use Global Positioning System (GPS), a space-based instrument that could help collect useful data more accurately, in 2011 due to lack of funds.
The CBS, which had earlier announced to use GPS in order to make the upcoming census most advanced to date, dropped the idea of introducing the satellite technology after it failed to manage funds.
With the failure to utilize the GPS technology, the CBS´s plan of collecting settlements-based statistics has been completely thrown haywire.
"The settlements-based statistics are useful in planning for infrastructure development," Rudra Suwal, Director of Population Section at the CBS, said. "Now, we will have to rely on statistics based on political or administrative boundaries for 10 years, until the next census in 2022."
According to Suwal, the CBS, which faced a very tough time in managing resources for the next census, failed to manage Rs 40 million needed to purchase GPS devices. However, lack of resources is not the only reason behind CBS´ decision not to use GPS.
"Most of our enumerators are just SLC graduates," Suwal said, adding, "The less educated enumerators cannot handle GPS devices. The dress rehearsal clearly showed that we should either provide them with more intensive training or replace them by recruiting well educated and tech-savvy enumerators."
Previously, during the pilot census carried out in seven districts including Kathmandu, the CBS had equipped more than 130 enumerators with GPS devices. However, while collecting statistics from various households, the enumerators failed to properly handle the avant-garde instrument, which resulted in the CBS´s decision to not use them at least for now.
Conducting trainings for already-recruited enumerators or replacing them with well-educated ones requires more money and time, something the CBS can´t afford. In addition, Suwal says, spending a staggering amount of money in purchasing GPS devices is not sufficiently worth it, especially when the CBS is suffering a serious fund crunch.
"Once the next census is over, the costly GPS devices will be useless," said Suwal. "We will have to dump them in some warehouse for 10 years. By the time we set out for another census in 2022, most of these devices will have become useless."
What is GPS?
The GPS is a global satellite technology maintained by the United States. It is freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver, which looks like a cell phone. It is very instrumental in exactly locating settlements anywhere in the world.
As the country is preparing to switch to a federal structure, existing political or administrative boundaries, like Village Development Committees (VDCs), may no longer remain relevant.
When each individual is put up on various types of maps prepared as per Geographic Information System (GIS), redrawing of boundaries in the new federal structure would be far easier.