The first-ever digital and 7th population and housing census 2023, which was launched on March 01 by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), is currently in its final stages and would conclude on April 04. Chief Census Commissioner Dr Naeem uz Zafar has said that the people who could not get themselves registered due to some reason, can dial 0800-57574, or use the digital service of self-enumeration while logging on to “self.pbs.gov.pk” or contact the district administration in their respective areas for their inclusion in the census. The self-enumeration portal was the first-ever opportunity provided in any country in South Asia, enabling every resident of Pakistan the option to count himself/herself in the digital census, he added. The launch of the digital census in Pakistan was a significant milestone for the country, as past methods of counting people were contentious, with concerns raised by various groups about inaccurate counts and the exclusion of marginalized communities, according to a PBS official on Monday. In order to address these issues, PBS introduced geo-tagging and real-time data collection and transmission for the digital census 2023, he added. He said as many as 126,000 enumerators were deployed to collect data from across the country. The enumerators were equipped with tablets that contained more than 30 questions covering areas such as population count, religion, ethnicity, gender, disability, and businesses. According to the chief statistician, the estimated expenditure on the exercise was around Rs 34 billion. For the collection of data, the country was divided into blocks, with each unit having between 200 to 250 households and each enumerator being assigned two blocks in their respective areas to collect the required data in one month. Despite the security challenges and reported attacks on census teams in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the census teams performed their duties with dedication and visited each and every area to ensure the inclusion of every individual in the digital census, he added. All the deputy commissioners were assigned the duties to monitor the digital census by themselves and report to their respective commissioners on a regular basis. “The census would help the government to plan the next 10-year development projects in different districts on the basis of this census and it is important that every individual should act responsibly and ensure his/ her entry in the census,” the official emphasised.