Census not to check legal status

ABU DHABI — The country's most ambitious and far reaching Census (Tedad) has nothing to do with checking the legal status of people who are fearful of labour and residency laws, officials assured at the meeting of the UAE's Census Management Committee convened here on Monday.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Tue 30 Aug 2005, 10:18 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:29 PM

The officials said staff collecting data for the Census would not investigate or question people about their legal status or conditions.

The meeting discussed various initiatives of the Census conducted under which satellite technology will pinpoint locations of all buildings in the country. Eighteen women would be among the staff conducting the census.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Abdullatif bin Hammad, Secretary of Ministry of Economy and Planning and Assistant Director General of the Higher Census Authority, and in the presence of Hafsa Abdullah AI Ulama, Assistant Under Secretary for Planning and Director-General of Census 2005.

Over 2,000 enumerators, supervisors and other supporting staff members have just been thoroughly trained to use state of the art technology, using PDAs, to record census figures and other vital statistics.

Hammad said that the process of calibrating and marking buildings and business was very vital because it will form the basis of the Population Census. "For the successful execution of the whole project, it is imperative to be updated on the tasks of enumerators and supervisors involved in the whole initiative because the field work involves a lot of logistical hassles and each stage comes with its own inherent responsibilities and needs."

In order to augment data processing and data dissemination with precision, the Census project features the use of state-of-the-art satellite technology in pinpointing locations of all buildings in the country. Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) will be used for first time in a general census in the UAE, replacing the traditional forms and registers.

"The use of satellite technology and PDAs in the census initiative is a way forward for us and we at the Higher Census Authority are confident that these collaborative arrangements will help us maximise the success of the project," said Hammad.

The meeting also shed light on the work executed in each emirate as part of the Census since its inception, besides monitoring various other facets viz, training, designating administrative zones and sections for the enumerators, the latest innovative technology being employed, as well as the media marketing and communication plans.

The Authority also organised a comprehensive training programme on the PDAs to augment the use of technology in the Census projects. The training, held from August 6 to 24 in 33 centres across the nation, showcased the benefits of technology for 196 officials. It was conducted in two stages — the theory and the second stage on the practical usage of PDAs.

The second training module, targeting the Supervisors, commenced on August 20 and is due to continue till August 31 at 46 centres across the UAE. At the end of the training, which involves 1,529 supervisors, the Higher Census Authority will be finalising the assigned zones for the supervisors.

On the use of technology, the meeting acknowledged that the use of technology will go a long way in its overall success. Establishing the fact that effective communication will facilitate the census programme, the Committee also hailed the implementation of various state-of-the-art technological devices.

To ensure transparency, the UAE community will be updated on the progress of the initiative on www.tedad.ae. It also informed that once the advertisements designs and other communication plans were finalised, they would be released through various media. The marketing plan has been formulated in line with the Tedad overall plan.

The meeting also acknowledged the next phase of the project, is set to get under way on September 3. In this phase, approximately 1,000 supervisors will executing the field work counting and marking buildings within the designated areas and gathering all related data, counting the components of each building (i.e. apartments, offices or stores) and acquiring detailed information on each, and supervising groups of researchers who are in the process of gathering data from the residents during the enumeration stage.

At the inception of the press conference, the officials of the population census in the UAE, provided information on operations and development in the census process. They affirmed the importance of population census to the UAE nationals and expatriates. People should not fear the census and should provide officials with the correct data, because all information that would be obtained from them would be strictly kept under the lid.

They said persons,who feared labour and residency laws, were hesitant in giving complete information. The officials, however, assured those people that the census operations had nothing to do with their legal status in the country and that no official engaged in the census would ever question or investigate their conditions and status.

Hafssa Abdullah Al Ulamma, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Labour for Planning and Statistics Affairs and Director General for the Population, installations and buildings for the year 2005, said: " Female citizens will participate in the current census operations, sixteen in Ras Al Khaimah and twelve in Fujairah.

On multiplicity of languages in UAE society, Hafssa said that in the coming week a telephone service will be available to answer queries related to the census. "This service will be delivered in four languages — Arabic, Hindi, English and Malayalam," she said, adding that most of the census officials were UAE citizens who understood English and that they would be accompanied by translators.

She said that census officials would be employed from various nationalities, especially Indians. "The second phase of the census will have nothing to do with people, because census would be only conducted on buildings and installations, which will commence from 3 to 15 September of current month, while population census will start on 5-6 September", she said.

Dr. Ibrahim Saad Mohammed, Fujairah census official said " Language was never an obstacle during previous censuses. In labour camps data is collected with the help of supervisors who are provided with questionnaires which contained the desired information"

Dr. Ali Al Tafoor, member of the Supervision Authority over the population census, said "Identifying the margin of error in the results of the census, is done by conducting a minor census following the execution of the comprehensive census operation. This is very important in order to confirm the authenticity of the census results. But it would not be carried out because its very expensive."

He said that to reach a 98 per cent of real representation of the population was the purpose of the census.

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