Majority of the recommendations / directives made during last two years by the Senate’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication were thrown into dustbin as concerned departments never listened or considered the recommendations, let alone implementing them.
It wouldn’t be out of place here to mention that million of rupees are spent on these committee meetings from the national exchequer in shape of TAs and DAs, however, the out come of these committees is not up to the mark.
Each member of standing committee is allotted TA and DA for the meetings that they attend, or even when they don’t attend.
Senator Shahi Syed Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on IT&T has prepared a report which is also endorsed by other members of committee that has been submitted to the Chairman Senate of Pakistan.
The report states that Committee on IT & T held its meetings during the period from 18th June, 2015 to 6th April, 2016, under the Chairmanship of Senator Shahi Syed. During these meetings, the Committee took up numerous issues related to IT and Telecommunication and made a number of significant recommendations, which were not considered by concerned bodies.
Recommendations of Standing Committee were as following:
- The Committee recommended that government may form a regulatory body to regulate IT companies in the country.
- The Committee recommended that mechanism of tax be evolved to levy the IT companies.
- The Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication should take immediate steps to launch new projects in FATA through Universal Service Fund (USF) and complete on priority.
- The Secretary, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication in collaboration with PTCL & Pakistan Telecommunication Employees Trust (PTET) should implement the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Committee’s earlier recommendations regarding increase in pensions of all the PTCL employees at the earliest.
- The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication along with all stake holders including Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) should make maximum efforts to implement mechanism for the collection of withholding and other related tax which is collected by the Mobile/ Cellular Companies.
- The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication should evolve a strategy for revitalization of Telephone Industry of Pakistan (TIP) without any further delay.
- The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication should take concrete steps on war footing basis for resolving the issue of outstanding amount of TIP towards Technological Service Corporation (TSC) & National Radio Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) on account of their contribution share.
- The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication should take concrete steps to bound PTCL, TIP and NRTC to borne all financial expenses being incurred on the schools, colleges and hospitals which have been established on the land allocated to those entities respectively.
- The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication in coordination with concerned entities should devise policy for regularization of services of contractual employees serving in the TIP schools, colleges and hospitals established in the TIP colony.
- The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication should take immediate steps for resolving the issue of outstanding amount of Rs.274 million of TIP towards TSC & NRTC on account of their contribution towards TIP Schools and Hospitals must be resolved on urgent basis so the basic necessities of education and health could be provided to the families residing in the TIP colony.
- The Committee while observing inordinate delay in process of recovery of outstanding amount of RS. 800 million from Etisalat recommended that Privatization Commission in collaboration with Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Information Technology should immediately resolve the issue and report back to the committee on the steps taken in that regard.
However, a closer look into these recommendations shows that not a single directive was implemented in letter and spirit, leaving one wonder that what’s the purpose of these meetings if their recommendations are never looked at.
Experts say that there could be two reasons for such outcome:
- Either government takes these committees very lightly
- Or the recommendations were utterly useless
In either cases there’s a question mark on how our state institutions work and the legal weight of the recommendations that come these standing committees, said the experts.