The government plans to spend Rs4.6 billion on information technology (IT) projects during the fiscal year 2012-13 with emphasis on strengthening e-government, human resource and infrastructure development. There are 43 projects which are being executed in the sector with a total cost of Rs22.9 billion, an official at the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications said on Wednesday.
The official said that in order to achieve strategic objectives and enhance economic growth, policy reforms are envisaged which include maximum internet penetration – at least up to tehsil level – so that students, businesses, research institutions and commerce can benefit from IT.
Private entities are being encouraged to put information online with the guidance of provincial governments, the official said adding that all data obtained by remote sensing satellite of Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission and surveys carried out by the Agriculture Departments and Crop Reporting Services (CRS) is being integrated into one central agricultural productivity website. He said that this will help develop fair food policies for rice, sugar, cotton, wheat for next season.
The individual local markets (mandis) selling agricultural produce will be linked through the website in order to apprise the traders and government of current prices of various products and help deal with situations of surpluses and deficiencies. The government policies of agriculture ministry and Trade Commission of Pakistan will also be based on feedback from this website.
Moreover, for enhanced software exports and to safeguard the interest of smaller software developer, the government will move them into viable clusters in software parks where these small development companies can manage larger IT development projects mutually. The software houses should operate as small industrial cities on the same lines as textile or garments cities, where uninterrupted electricity and broadband internet may be provided by government. He said that computerisation of revenue records is being implemented in all districts of Punjab.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2012.