The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has launched KP’s first-ever digital policy. While it is obvious that it aims at the digital transformation of the northern province, there is a lot more to the policy than what meets the eye.
This policy aims to remove the piles of files that get in the way of good governance. Moreover, it envisions digital accessibility to reach every corner of the province, promotion of tech startups, and support of entrepreneurs.
It also envisages job creation, empowerment, connectivity, and inclusiveness by tapping the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
KP’s Digital Policy (2018-2023)
The Digital Policy entails a comprehensive plan for KP’s digital transformation. It goes about six basic thematic areas, which include:
The KP administration is planning to incorporate several measures to make the internet access possible throughout the province. These measures include:
- Imposition of a tax cut of 19.5 percent on mobile and the fixed broadband services in KP to expand the digital footprint and upgrade the technology infrastructure.
- Installation of the internet involves the cost of fiber deployment. In order to save on the cost, the policy maintains a provision for broadband conduit deployment.
- Induction of a phase-wise transformation of broadband services from copper-based networks to optical fiber-based networks across the province to ensure high speed at an affordable cost.
- Facilitation of the startups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and entrepreneurs by providing purpose-built facilities.
- Promotion of the use of technology in various sectors like education, health, and agriculture to link the far-flung areas with the developed ones.
- Promotion of investment through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model in the Digital Access projects.
It is about improving the institutional capability to deliver improved public services, improve productivity and efficiency, and accountability with better citizen engagement. The government is planning to:
- Incorporate digital technologies into government services to improve their performance, reduce costs, and ensure transparency.
- Allocate annual funds for digital governance initiatives
- Adopt Cloud-Based Services to reduce IT infrastructure and maintenance costs
- Introduce advanced technologies for distributed storage and retrieval to ensure data integrity
- Adopt Global Data Protection Regulation to ensure the privacy of citizens and government institutions operating in the Cyberspace
- Adopt Open-source software where viable to reduce cost and encourage SMEs
- Implement standard cyber security protocols in all government departments
- Integrate the government departments via software standardization and replication
- Implement an Open-Data Framework across the government to bring innovation, transparency, and accountability
This segment focuses on the digitization of the economy:
- Promotion of digital payments to make the financial transactions convenient and speedy
- Mechanism to provide financial investments for SMEs and digital startups.
- Preferential procurement of digital services and products from KP-based vendors and suppliers to promote the local ICT industry
- Provision of a supportive regular framework
- Supporting the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in KP to generate employment
- Improving Ease-of-doing business for investors in the digital space
Considering the lackluster educational standards in the country, KP govt plans to revolutionize education in the province. It entails:
- Launching a digital competency and literacy framework to assess and improve digital literacy levels
- Optimal incorporation of technology use in primary, secondary, and tertiary education.
- Ensuring improved learning outcomes through optimal use of technology in vocational education and training
- Ensuring the availability of digital skills that are high in demand at all levels of education
The government also plans to ensure the inclusion of women, youth, and marginalized groups in the digital arena. Moreover, it aims to equip and empower women with digital skills and education along with ensuring their financial inclusion and equitable dividends for the underprivileged currents of the society.
The government aims to establish an innovation fund through public-private partnership (PPP) to support the startups and entrepreneurs in the digital space.
The complete version of the digital policy can be reached here.