AJK government has always welcomed the promotion and integration of Information Technology to its structure. AJK’s IT board has been established and the board aims to be a model IT board on international fronts.
Established in 2001, the board has the authority to monitor, initiate, develop, evaluate and propose all IT related project all over the state.
The IT board is part of a master plan which targets to spread IT literacy on all levels, transform the existing structure to e-governance and encourage the promotion of software development on state-level.
The recent agreement between Telenor, Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Government about advancing the awareness of Information Technology (IT) across the state marks commencement of a new chapter in furthering IT in the state.
According to the IT board, some of its major exemplary milestones achieved so far include:
- Computerization of land record, arms license, domicile and state subject certificates
- Launching of video conferencing facility for state’s government and high officials
- Installation of electronic communication setup across different government departments
- Introduction of well equipped and furnished computer labs at all major high schools and inter-colleges throughout the state
- Opening of internet cafes and IT kiosks for public at union council level
Acquisition of proper IT and computer skills at grass-root level has been deemed a major step for achieving AJK’s vision to be a self-confident state highly-skilled, honored and prosperous enough to be in par with latest demands of rapidly digitizing global-village.
In addition to welcoming Telenor to work for development of IT, AJK’s government has welcomed other private-sector companies and foreign investors in the past as well.
Besides having achieved targets, the government foresees, in at most five years, the successful implementation of its under-development IT programs. Some of them include:
- Deployment of an electronic educational network among all intra-state universities and colleges
- Exemption of IT faculty from income tax
- Establishing information centers having access to reputed international information repositories at major cities of AJK
- Promoting distance education by establishment of virtual learning environment by installing video and online facilities across all educational institutes
- Making basic IT training compulsory for government employees as well as at all degree-level courses
- Facilitating and encouraging foreign universities to establish distance learning centers in AJK
Even though, comparatively speaking, the state lacks highly skilled IT professionals; the government’s steps of encouragement may help AJK getting attracted by ex-state IT talent.
Having said this, there still needs a lot to be done. Particularly, the adaptability rates of information technology, broadband and other technologies needs attention.