Digital census.

THE country is set to take a giant leap forward in the enumeration of its human resources after the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics received the last of the 126,000 tablet computers sanctioned for a 'digital census' of the population. In the words of Nadra Chairman Tariq Malik, the exercise will evolve 'From scribbled responses on millions of paper sheets to real-time validated data in apps on secure devices with satellite imagery'. It is hoped that this transformation will make the massive exercise of counting more than 200m citizens not just quicker and more efficient but also much more precise. The possibilities seem endless. With detailed data made digitally available with the PBS, Pakistani authorities and policymakers will have, as Mr Malik has described it, 'a foundational system for evidence-based policymaking.' For example, thanks to the global positioning system and geographical information system data hoped to be collected through the digital census, it will become much easier for authorities to see where Pakistanis live and how best to reach them. Such information will be incredibly handy when dealing with national-level emergencies, such as epidemics or natural disasters. GPS data could be used to implement very targeted lockdowns, for example, while GIS data will come in handy when understanding the impact of a...

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