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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

CTA to conduct second demographic survey of Tibetans in exile

April 11, 2009

By Phurbu Thinley
April 9, 2009

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.

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