Wed, 24 May 2000

Census 2000 to reveal comprehensive data

JAKARTA (JP): Officials have pledged to conduct thorough data recording, including in strife-torn areas across the country, for the national population census which begins on June 1.

The officials expressed their determination to cover all the strife-torn areas, such as Maluku and Aceh province, along with the refugees areas in the country.

Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) chief Sugito Suwito said enumerators had been given special preparations for the task.

"Officials and authorities from those areas, such as Aceh and Maluku, have stated their readiness to complete the census," Sugito said.

He said officials in Maluku and North Maluku has completed special training and that Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri had also urged BPS to go ahead with the plan.

"Although there will be several problems there due to the security conditions, we are still confident that we can compile the data in those provinces," Sugito added.

The population census, held every 10 years, will compile data on all Indonesian residents, including expatriates, except for foreign diplomatic corps and their families, along with Indonesians living abroad.

Sugito said the coming census would be different from that held in 1990.

"With the development of information technology, the general results of the census can be announced by mid-August. The details of the information will be released gradually," Sugito said, adding that the bureau had received equipment with the aid of the Japanese government.

The results of the census will later be available to the public on the Internet. The data will consist of complete, detailed data on population distribution, according to age, residence, marital status, citizenship, education, mortality and fertility rates, religion, ethnicity and gender.

"We will also provide more comprehensive data on the poor, so that our data can be used in the distribution of social safety net programs," he added. Previously, the government used the National Family Planning Board data for the program.

President Abdurrahman Wahid is expected to officially announced the results of the census during his annual speech before the House of Representatives on Aug. 16.

Sugito said that Rp 304.8 billion (US$37.2million) had been allocated for the census, of which some Rp 160.8 billion was used for preliminary preparations, including the training of officials and mapping the locations for the census.

Over 300,000 enumerators will cover 52 million households across the country.

During the one-month census, enumerators can identified by official tags and will carry with them a recommendation letter from local authorities.

Sugito appealed to the people to provide sufficient data to enumerators.

"The results of the census will be useful for everybody and not just for government interests," said Sugito, whom President Abdurrahman Wahid said earlier on Tuesday would be replaced by "a woman with very strong qualifications." (dja)