ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb on Sunday said deployment of census staff has been completed to begin the 6th population census from March 15, 2017. She was addressing a joint press conference with ISPR DG Major General Asif Ghafoor and Chief Census Commissioner Asif Bajwa. She said the census is scheduled to be conducted in two phases from March 15 to May 15, with the total budget of Rs 18.5 billion. “We are in a sound state of readiness and preparedness as comprehensive knowledge building and capability enhancement has been conducted through an exhaustive and transparent campaign.” Marriyum said the final decision to conduct the exercise was taken during the meeting of Council of Common Interests (CCI) in December 2016. Terming the census as a historic event, she said the census was scheduled for 2016 but was postponed due to engagement of security forces in operation against terrorism, across the country The minister said that all people living in Pakistan would be in scope of the population census, including dual nationals (if in country on the reference date) and diplomats, adding that the data of diplomats would be obtained from Foreign Office. She said that the process would be conducted simultaneously all across the country. She said that for the first time in the history of country the transgender population would be counted be accounted in the census, while a separate form has been prepared to hold count of disabled persons and record the nature of their disability. She said that a helpline will be operational to provide the people access to the Census Department in the event that they face any challenges, have queries or complaints. The minister said the representation in parliament is based on population data while the allocation of resources to provinces and infrastructure development is also based on the population count. “So holding of census is very essential to have such estimates,” she added. The ISPR DG said the census would be conducted with the assistance of over 200,000 troops in approximately 168,000 blocks. Soldiers will go door-to-door with enumerators who will have coordination with the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) – will be able to get NADRA verification of the data in that particular time Dual nationals who are present in Pakistan at the time of the census will be included, Marriyum said. The army has created a support plan for the census according to which the military has three tasks, Ghafoor said. “That the census is smooth, transparent and that security and law and order are maintained.” The army will make security arrangements for the retrieval of filled forms, he added. With help from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, master trainers in various cities have trained more trainers under them at the division level, so “each soldier is well-trained to undertake this task”, Ghafoor said. He said one solider will be deputed with each enumerator to ensure smooth and transparent counting and for provision of security. It will be a unique activity where a soldier will go to every house in Pakistan. “Take his arrival as ‘thank you’ for ur support to army and also cooperate for census.” To a question, Marriyum said that as per the reports of Standing Committee of the Parliament 90% of the IDPs have returned to their homes while those still in camps are also registered, so they would be included in population census. The minister warned that providing wrong information would carry fine up to Rs 50,000 and 6 months imprisonment. She lauded the role of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics for making untiring efforts towards taking this much awaited national exercise to set in.