Pun­jab all set to un­veil IT pol­icy

Enterprise - - National news -

The Pun­jab gov­ern­ment is giv­ing fi­nal touches to the coun­try’s first-ever pro­vin­cial in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy pol­icy to boost growth in the sec­tor.

The pol­icy draft said it re­volves around six core prin­ci­ples: ed­u­ca­tion, econ­omy, em­pow­er­ment, em­ploy­ment, en­trepreneur­ship and en­gage­ment.

Num­ber of IT firms in Pak­istan has al­most dou­bled with an av­er­age growth rate of ap­prox­i­mately 7.4 per­cent in the last decade.

Dur­ing the same time, IT and IT-based ex­ports in­creased to $519 mil­lion. In­dus­try of­fi­cials said the ex­ports stand at three bil­lion dol­lars.

The pro­vin­cial IT pol­icy draft said sig­nif­i­cant gains have been achieved, yet ac­cord­ing to the Global Com­pet­i­tive­ness In­dex 2015, Pak­istan falls be­hind most of the coun­tries in terms of ab­sorp­tion of IT and IT-en­abled ser­vices.

“Dur­ing the last one decade, Pun­jab has recorded an even higher growth rate than the na­tional av­er­age, at about 10.9 per­cent.” “These en­tail sig­nif­i­cant gains, which are a di­rect re­sult of the Na­tional ICT (in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy) Pol­icy 2000 and are worth com­men­da­tion,” it said.

“De­spite these sig­nif­i­cant gains, there is still room for con­sid­er­able im­prove­ment.” The Global Com­pet­i­tive­ness

In­dex 2015 sug­gests that Pak­istan lags be­hind most coun­tries in terms of ab­sorp­tion of IT and IT-en­abled ser­vices in ed­u­ca­tion and in ev­ery­day life.

Af­ter 18th amend­ment into the con­sti­tu­tion, the pro­vin­cial govern­ments have been en­trusted with ad­di­tional pow­ers to act in cer­tain do­mains. Since 2000, the IT par­a­digm has changed sig­nif­i­cantly with new tech­nolo­gies and ideas such as in­ter­net of things and big data tak­ing the fore­front.

There is, there­fore, a need to re­visit the IT pol­icy in­tro­duced in year 2000 and en­able the prov­inces to take lead in the mat­ter. With this back­drop in mind, the Pun­jab gov­ern­ment is in­tro­duc­ing the Pun­jab IT Pol­icy 2016, which aims to po­si­tion Pun­jab as the IT re­search and de­vel­op­ment and in­no­va­tion hub of Pak­istan.

Dur­ing the last decade, the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment heav­ily in­vested in the cre­ation of a knowl­edge-based econ­omy as well as a more ac­count­able and in­clu­sive gov­ern­ment through the use and adop­tion of tech­nol­ogy. It was the first prov­ince to take back the broad­band tax, which made the broad­band cost rel­a­tive 17 per­cent cheaper.

Smart mon­i­tor­ing of schools pro­gramme mon­i­tors teacher and stu­dent at­ten­dance as well as pro­vi­sion of fa­cil­i­ties in 52,695 pub­lic schools, en­com­pass­ing more than 10 mil­lion stu­dents and 339,000 teach­ers.

More than 5,000 high schools have been pro­vided with com­puter labs. In or­der to over­come the chal­lenges of ghost schools and poor learn­ing out­comes, pri­vate sec­tor en­ter­prises, such as Care Foun­da­tion and TeleTaleem were handed over the con­trol of pub­lic schools. Cit­i­zen feed­back mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram re­ceived the World Bank In­no­va­tion Fund Award.

Un­der the model po­lice sta­tions ini­tia­tive, 440 out of 709 po­lice sta­tions in the Pun­jab have com­put­erised FIR-fil­ing mech­a­nisms in ad­di­tion to crime map­ping and e-mon­i­tor­ing. Plan 9, Pak­istan’s first busi­ness in­cu­ba­tor, has grad­u­ated 130 start-ups till date, which got a com­bined val­u­a­tion of more than $60 mil­lion.

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