Punjab has passed its first ever Provincial IT Policy of Pakistan consisting of 5 pillars, envisioning Punjab as the industrial hub of the country. The IT Policy was passed by the Provincial Cabinet on Thursday.
According to the landmark policy, the five pillars are:
- Support the IT industry
- Bridge the digital divide
- Citizen-centric services
— Punjab Information Technology Board (@PITB_Official) May 31, 2018
Support the IT Industry
The policy aims to offer extended and unhindered support to the IT industry of the province. Establishing Special Economic Zones (SEZs), business-friendly policies and initiatives, developing software technology parks and knowledge centers, promoting e-commerce, smooth and user-friendly taxation policy, the introduction of IT in the non-IT sector, bringing Original Design Manufacturing (ODM) industry to Pakistan are some of the important aspects of the first pillar of IT Policy.
Bridge the Digital Divide
Pakistan lags far behind when it comes to Information and Communication Technology (ICT), therefore the second pillar aims to bridge such gaps while facilitating the common man. Punjab IT Board (PITB) will be offering free wifi hotspots in major cities, e-libraries for lifelong learning, e-learning initiatives in the province, strengthening cybersecurity, the e-Rozgaar scheme, overcoming online harassment. In addition initiatives like the Data Protection Act, Right to Information Act and Right of Policy are aimed at facilitating the citizens of Punjab.
The crux of e-Governance policy is to use ICT for the smooth functioning of the government while ensuring transparency and eradicating corrupt practices. Most of the major departments will be, or already are, digitized, especially health, police, traffic, judiciary, education, procurement, land records and agriculture to name a few. The development projects are set to be monitored through the use of ICT as well.
Citizens were never the focal point of a policy up until now as PITB aims to provide hassle-free service delivery to the citizens while introducing e-Khidmat centers, e-Payment services, Citizen Contact Centers, and Citizen Feedback Monitoring Program.
The entrepreneurial culture is booming throughout the world and PITB aims to foster a start-up ecosystem in Punjab focusing on finding and promoting potential successful businesses. Punjab has already launched Plan9 and PlanX which serve as technology incubators for the entrepreneurs while the Tech Hub Connect is a co-working space for the aspiring entrepreneurs and freelancers. In addition, e-Rozgaar centers and Venture Capital Fund are aimed at supporting the freelancers and entrepreneurs, promoting them to turn to entrepreneurship.
This is indeed a great initiative and now PITB’s needs it actually works on these plans properly in order to ensure both, cyber security and financial progress.