By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, April 9: The second demographic survey of Tibetan exiles around the world would be conducted on Sunday, April 12, the Office of the Planning Commission of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) announced today.
The first such census was taken on June 12, 1998.
“April 12, 2009, has been declared as the reference date for the second demographic survey as per the Kashag’s order. And it is going to be a synchronized and comprehensive Demographic Survey of Tibetans in Exile all over the world,” Dr. Kunchok Tsundue, the Chief Planning Officer, CTA, told Phayul.
Kunchok said the second census, required to be taken after every ten years time, was actually due on June 12, 2008. “But due to the emergency situation and protests in Tibet last year we had to postpone it by 10 months,” he said.
“Now it is being conducted because although the emergency situation in Tibet may not be over, but it is a very essential task for future planning prospects, and we really need to go ahead with our constructive programs,” he added.
“Much more than a headcount, this population census endeavors to collect socio-economic and cultural information, which becomes instrumental for long term effective planning and formulating public policy,” he said, adding that the Office of Planning Commission was established to oversee the long term projects and programs needs of the Tibetan community.
“Through this survey, we shall not only collect demographic data explaining mortality, morbidity, fertility and migration pattern of the Tibetan population but also there are scores of carefully selected questions on education, culture and economic characteristics of every individual institutions and Tibetans where ever they are,” he said. “All these will help forming a formidable basis of a baseline data of the entire Tibetan community in exile for their both short and longer term planning.”
Besides, he said, the census was designed to provide leading insights into the past trajectory of the Tibetan people after 50 years in exile. “At CTA level, our departments will have indispensable sectoral information to improve their planning capabilities with special reference to projects and programme that are aimed to strengthen our institutions and make our community viable during this plan period,” he said.
So unlike the 1998 one, Kunchok said the second demographic survey this time would be more extensive than ever. “The time enumerations are being done at 260 different points all over the world,” Kunchok said. While 220 enumeration points would be in India, Nepal and Bhutan alone, Kunchok said, 40 such points were arranged in nine countries outside Asia.
And to "ensure maximum coverage and information collected are of standard and high quality," Kunchok said that the enumeration period for India, Nepal and Bhutan would be of three days (April 12-14) and eight or, seven extended days (April 12 - 19) for the other non-Asian countries.
“In India, Nepal and Bhutan alone there are 220 different enumeration points, and we request all Tibetans wherever they are located to register themselves there. It is a de-facto 183 extended period of census, so whoever comes within an area for more than six months they may register themselves there,” Kunchok said.
“The basic principle for the census is that no one should be missed and no one should be counted more than once,” he added.
“For this around 2800 enumerators are being trained and we have provided several regional workshops for the supervisors. So this is going to be a very massive exercise ever conducted in exile and hopefully we will live up to the standard of the census where missing population should not be more than 5%,” Dr Kunchok said.