ISLAMABAD - A meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) will take the revised plan of census 2016 on Monday (today).

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is also Chairman of the CCI will preside over the meeting. Other members of the Council are the Chief Ministers of the four provinces, Chief Secretaries and three Federal members.

The positive thing about the federal members is that they all belong to the small provinces.

The federal members include Syed Saddruddin Shah Rashidi Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistani, Federal Minister for Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch and Federal Religious Minister Sardar Yousaf.

The CCI meeting is taking place after one year and according the provinces holding the CCI meeting after such a long time is violation of the Constitution, as under article 154, it must converge once in three months.

The earlier agenda, of the 28th meeting of CCI, finalised on February 19, 2016 did not include census, but later it was included and a new agenda was circulated on February 23 included six items with item number one has six sub clauses. But now a third agenda was distributed on February 26 which has nine points. There is six sub points of the agenda items number one.

As per revised agenda of CCI meeting, issued on February 26, 2016 a copy of which is available with The Nation, the meeting will discuss the revised census plan. It is pertinent to mention here that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday chaired a meeting to review arrangements for the planned Housing and Population Census-2016.

The Minister directed the Pakistan Board of Statistics to chalk out a revised Action Plan for holding the Census, incorporating the changes discussed in the meeting, in consultation with other stakeholders. The updated Plan would be shared with the members of the Council of Common Interest for consideration.

The Council of Common Interests (CCI), an inter-provincial body, in March 2015 had decided to conduct the sixth population census in March 2016 with the support of the Armed Forces.

According the plan the process for conducting the sixth population census will start across the country from March 28, and will be completed in 19 days. The government has allocated Rs 14.5 billion to conduct the whole process out of which about Rs 5 billion have been released. The country has been divided into 162,921 census blocks and each block would consist of 200 to 250 houses.

According the earlier decision of the Council of Common Interests (CCI), the census would be held under the supervision of the Armed Forces and around 200500-armed men would be deployed for the security of the census teams across the country. The census would be conducted in one go and the house listing and population census would take place simultaneously.

For the population census will take 15 days, house census will take 3 days and the sum up will require one day, the official explained.       

Regarding the revised plan of the census, the official said that government have various options including the merging of census blocks. For example the government can allocate more than one census block to the team to reduce the workforce and the number of Armed Forces required for the protection of the census teams. But the merging of blocks will increase the time of census from 19 days, the official said.

The official said that the best timing for the census is March or October so one option on the table is to postpone the census till October or March 2017.

According the agenda the CCI meeting will take up summary of IPC ministry regarding the status review of important decisions taken in the previous meeting of March 18, 2015.

The meeting reviewed the status of Power generation policy, 2015, oil and gas matters, allocation of water for Islamabad/Rawalpindi, inquiry into corruption charges of Kachi Canal, public debt management & supervision policy, Pakistan Energy Efficiency & Energy Conservation (PEEC) Bill, 2014, matters pertaining to higher education and other similar bodies in post-eighteenth amendment scenario, amendment in the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) Act, 1992, permanent absorption of federal employees transferred to the provincial governments in the wake of the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

The annual reports of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) for the years 2013-14 and 2014-15 will be place for CCI’s approval. Cabinet Division will present to the CCI annual report of NEPRA for 2013-14 and State of Industry Report 2014, Cabinet Division and Ministry of Water and Power is going to present formulation of National Flood Protection Plan-IV (2015-25). The CCI would also take up government of Balochistan proposal of pumping of drainage effluent, rationalisation of distribution of water from the Hub dam and an early completion of RBOD-III project, the government of Balochistan.

The meeting will also discuss the matters pertaining to Higher Education and other such bodies in the post 18th Amendments, Liquefied Petroleum Gas(LPG) production and distribution policy 2015,Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan amendment bill 2016.

Regarding the amendment in the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) Act, 1992, the official said that the matter was brought to the forum on the demand of the KP government. KP has demanded billion of rupees from Punjab and Sindh for using its surplus water but both the provinces have refused to pay in the absence of any such provision in the IRSA act 1992.

IRSA is against the KP demand and in its summary forwarded to the CCI it has said that shortage of water doesn’t apply to KP and Balucchistan as they are getting more water than historical distribution formula while Punjab and Sindh are facing water shortage. If Punjab and Sindh are getting less water than their share and are facing water shortage so why they should pay money to KP?.

Besides the official said that Article 154 of the constitution which pertains the provinces hold over Oil, Gas and mineral will also be discussed in the meeting. The Meeting will also discuss the installment of LNG power plants in Punjab and Sindh claim over LNG use.

The KP government demand of providing the province its share according the NFC award. The official said that KP share in NFC is 14.82 however during PPP government the province agreed to get 13.5 percent share in electricity but now the province is getting only 10 percent electricity.

The meeting will discuss KP demand for imposing excise duty on crude oil and removing moratorium from new gas connections.

The meeting will also give approval to the provision of 100 mmcfd of gas to KP for the power generation and uncapping KP share in net hydle profit, the official informed.