Digital Pakistan Policy 2017 at a Glance

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication has finalized the “Digital Pakistan Policy 2017” envisaging becoming a strategic enabler for an accelerated digitization eco system to expand the knowledge based economy and spur socio economic growth.

The draft of the Digital Pakistan Policy 2017 was earlier shared with all stakeholders for their input. After thorough deliberations, the draft has been finalized and would be presented before the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) for final approval.

Policy Goals

I. Holistic Digital strategy

A key goal of the Digital Pakistan Policy is to create a digital ecosystem with infrastructure and institutional frameworks for the rapid delivery of innovative digital services, applications and content. This policy represents a shift away from a piece-meal approach to a holistic technology strategy clearly focused on ICT as a broad enabler of every sector of socioeconomic development.

II. Sectorial Digitalization

Promote the use of technology in education, health, agriculture and other key socio economic sectors. Encourage the use of ICT in public schools and ensure they are online and have a meaningful impact on the current education eco-system in a phased manner.

III. E/M-Commerce

Enhance the current market size of e/m-commerce. According to some estimates, the market carries an enormous growth potential due to exponential growth in broadband subscribers from 3.7 million in 2013 to over 44.3 million in 2017 and increasing. With these growth trends projected to persist in the future, overseas investments will continue to grow in e-commerce. Promote e-commerce by providing and enabling an environment where Payment Service Providers (PSP) and Payment Service Operators (PSO) can operate and establish an effective e-commerce platform and take e-commerce activities in Pakistan to the next level.

IV. Youth, Women and Girls empowerment using IT

Youth and Women represent roughly 60% and 49% respectively of the population. Ensuring women and girls have equal access to ICTs will help reduce inequalities and support gender equality. The value of ICTs is largely seen through increased productivity, improved access to health and education, equitable participation in social, political and economic spheres, thus breaking barriers of isolation. Initiate specific ICT for Girls’ programs for imparting quality trainings in computer skills, including software coding, across the country to reduce inequalities, provide decent work and promote economic growth in line with relevant SDGs.

V. Promote Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Incubators/Startups in IT sector

Generate sustainable innovation, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for the country’s rapidly growing technology savvy and entrepreneurial youth. To conduct digital skills programs for the human resource development in current and emerging technology domains. Collaborate with international partners to boost innovation. Set up venture capital funds to hold national level competitions on regular basis in all key emerging technologies and applications.

Establish and build a framework for setting-up incubation centers in provincial capitals & major secondary cities facilitating IT startups to get off the ground more quickly and smoothly by tapping into a vast network of business partners and mentors, including specialized innovation centers in thematic areas including FinTech, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotics. Promote and encourage entrepreneurship by providing incentives to IT sector and training for young professionals to become freelancers.

VI. Increase software exports, IT remittances & Domestic Market

The success of the IT industry and freelance sector, the ability of Pakistani IT professionals to win international awards and the availability of a large highly qualified English speaking workforce point to a huge potential for boosting software exports and outsourcing opportunities expanding the domestic market.

VII. ICT Ranking of Pakistan

Improve Pakistan ’s ICT ranking based on international indices and benchmarks measuring the business & innovation environment, infrastructure, affordability, skills readiness, and socioeconomic impact. Improve the provision of data to the international rating agencies.

VIII. Digital Inclusion

Bridge the digital divide including the urban and rural divide, gender disparity, unserved and underserved areas, inequality for the person with disabilities, by connecting the unconnected with broadband.

i.  Development of IT Zones/Software Technology Parks To setup at least one state of the art purpose built ‘ Software Technology Park ’ at major cities of Pakistan (federal and provincial capitals) to promote efficient and cost effective collaboration, digitization, Research & Development (R&D), entrepreneurship and innovation.

ii. Telecenters Setting up Telecenters in unserved and underserved areas of Pakistan to provide public with easy access to ICT services.

IX. E-Governance

Promote e-Governance to make Pakistan the frontrunner in good governance through IT enablement at all levels. Ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability by setting up integrated government databases and applications.

X. Increase foreign and domestic investment

Make Pakistan an attractive destination for investment in the IT/ITeS industries to create jobs and fuel economic growth.

XI. Persons with Disabilities

Reduce barriers to online access for “Persons with Disabilities” (PWDs). Include provisions of prodigious empowerment of PWDs in IT accessibility.

XII. Standardization Coordinate and support standardization efforts, maximize reusability, create synergies and deliver cost effectiveness. This includes facilitation of international standards certification e.g. CMMI, ISO, procurement etc.

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