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ISLAMABAD, Jan 07 (APP): The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) takes major initiative by designing a decision support system for inflation and releases the results of special survey to evaluate impact of COVID-19 on wellbeing of people.

This was informed during a visit of Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar to the PBS where he chaired a meeting on the initiative taken by PBS here on Thursday.

In compliance of the Prime Minister’s vision of “Digital Pakistan”, followed by the guidance of the Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives, PBS has developed a Decision Support System for Inflation (DSSI) which would enable the policy makers (National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC), Provincial Governments and District Administration) to take evidence based policy decision and address causes of inflation in the country.

The DSSI is featured with providing market level information, city wise comparison of prices, time series data at commodity level etc. One of the salient features of DSSI is that it provides comparison of rates issued by Deputy Commissioner and those collected by PBS on weekly basis.

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The Minister appreciated the work of PBS and was of the view that the district administration plays vital role in controlling the price hike by effective monitoring of markets, however there is no mechanism to compare the prices issued by district administration and PBS.

As a first step, DSSI provides a data driven mechanism for higher management at provincial and federal level to monitor the performance of district administration on weekly as well as monthly basis in 17 major cities of the country.

The Decision Support System for Inflation shall be launched after the approval of the Prime Minister and shall be executed through National Price Monitoring Committee.

The Minister was also briefed about the results of the survey conducted by PBS to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on the wellbeing of the people. In this survey information related to employment, Income, Remittances, Food Insecurity, Health, coping strategies adopted by the household and Assets to compile wealth quintiles has been collected.

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The survey results reveal that in Pakistan 35 percent population 10 years & older i.e. approximately 55.74 million was working before onset of COVID-19, but due to closure of activities after implementation of lock downs, It is observed that this declines to 22 percent (35.04 Million Population approximately).

This means almost 20.76 million populations was affected However, it is heartening to found that after July the recovery process started and 33 percent of population reported working after April – July 2020 i.e. approximately 52.56 million, almost a V shape recovery.

It is found that Livelihood of 17.07 Million Households affected due to lock down restrictions, evidence suggests that if strict lock down had continued, devastating Impacts may have been observed on the livelihoods of vulnerable groups of workers and their families.