Nepal: Flaws in new national census
Like in the previous census, the new census that was completed mere a week ago has drawn the similar flaws. The Central Bureau of Statistic (CBS) had conducted the 11th census in two phases — the first phase beginning from May 15 to June 1, while the second from June 17 to June 27.
Owing that there were serious flaws in recording the accurate data during the census this time, Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN), an umbrella organization of Indigenous nationalities across the country submitted a 10-point memorandum to the Central Bureau of Statistic (CBS) on Sunday. After submitting the memorandum, General Secretary of NEFIN Ang Kaji Sherpa said, “It was found that the enumerators filled the forms without letting respondents see and know what they have filled up. The enumerators from non-indigenous communities had filled up the forms on their own without even bothering to ask the answers from the respondents’ especially in regards to religion, caste, language. These acts have ensured that there has been massive manipulation in the name of recording the fact.” He further said that the CBS did not care on their regular call to include enumerators from indigenous nationalities, disseminate adequate information in mother tongue, let them have a look and give a chance to voice to the sort of forms and questions set by the CBS for census. As Sherpa stated, the ethnicity, caste and language have been among the most contentious issues that have been recorded in the past census. More importantly, these have been more controversial this year, as there has been exercise for changing the structure of the state mainly through federalism and political set up. And, therefore, there have been constant complainants from marginalized groups that the enumerators deliberately manipulated data. “In the past census, the enumerators manipulated and recorded the information and this is not going to be different,” said Raj Kumar Lekhi, president of NEFIN. NEFIN also had submitted a 12-point memorandum to the CBS on March 30, raising its concerns regarding the recently held census. NEFIN was demanding that the enumerators, who will be dealing with indigenous nationalities, should be from the respective community. According to Chief of Population Unit at CBS, Rudra Suwal, CBS has tried its best to record the accurate data and the result what will prove it. Acknowledging that some coding processes in the past were manipulated, leading to inaccurate data, we have put in place the better supervision of coding of the data, which have been collected from the field. According to CBS, around 8,500 supervisors were deployed in the first phase of the census, which was only the general information like number of household, number of family members and head of family and their occupation. While based on the preliminary information gathered in the first phase, the detailed census was conducted from June 17 to 27, where some 34,000 trained persons were deployed in 3,900 VDC’s and 58 municipalities. CBS also said that for the first time, CBS prepared questionnaires in 10 languages- in Maithili, Bhojpuri, Tharu, Tamang, Gurung, Newari/Nepal Bhasa, Magar, Awadhi, Rai and Limbu languages - for the convenience of respondents who did not understand Nepal.