ISLAMABAD: Members of the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology on Tuesday disagreed over forming a sub-committee to review issues faced by PayPal – a US company operating a worldwide online payments system – and freelancers related to the IT profession.
The committee, whose meeting was held at the Parliament House, later decided to take up the issue once again in its next meeting. Earlier, it was also briefed by provincial IT boards on their performance.
The meeting was chaired by Senator Rubina Khalid and was attended by senators – Rehman Malik, Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Fida Muhammad, Taj Afridi, Mian Ateeq Shaikh and Faisal Javed.
Briefing the members, the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) officials informed the committee that over the last five years the PITB has delivered more than 400 projects.
These projects are related to governance, health, education, law & order, local government with special emphasis on transforming complex service delivery & process automation challenges through easy to use information and communication technology (ICT) initiatives.
They said in education, the PITB has developed IT-enabled solutions to longstanding problems concerning monitoring and evaluation of staff and enrollment and retention of children at education institutes.
These solutions have not only served to improve quantitative indicators in public education sector but have also been deployed to attain qualitative changes in learning outcomes of enrolled students.
They said in health sector, IT-enabled solutions have helped make a foolproof national programme for immunisation against preventable diseases like polio. In law and order, he said the PITB has helped the police and prisons departments strengthen their information management systems.
The culture at police stations have undergone a transformation with large amount of crime data now gathered and stored in digital form and with the PlTB’s innovative solutions like Hotel Eye and Tenants Registration System, the department has documented improvements in its crime prevention and investigation capabilities.
They said the e-Stamping and e-Khidmat Markaz projects executed by the PITB have made available online as well as under a single roof multiple government agencies responsible for issuance and certification of documents needed by citizens on a regular basis.
A flagship Citizens Feedback Monitoring programme is bridging the physical divide between the citizenry and government departments. It has laid the foundation for transparent and efficient delivery of municipal services like education, healthcare, water and sanitation and solid waste management.
The PITB was also praised by the committee members. The committee was also informed that there were no IT boards in Balochistan and Sindh. The Khyber Pakhtunkwa (K-P) IT board officials also informed the committee on their workings and performance. The committee appreciated the jobs done by the PITB
During the briefing, Senator Ateeq asked as to why accounts of freelancers were not opened. A ministry official told the committee that there were issues in opening dollar accounts in banks. Ateeq noted that PayPal had clearly said it has no interest in working in this area. “PayPal should be brought here no matter what.”
Senator Rehman Malik said: “We are not treating international firms the way they should be treated.” He called for forming a committee specifically for IT rulings. He said representatives of all provinces and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) should be involved in evolving a system and the committee should verify all the collected data.
The members of the committee also seconded forming a sub-committee on freelancers. However, Faisal Javed of the ruling party disagreed with the suggestion. Later, Senator Rubina Khalid said the committee will hold a dedicated sitting on issues faced by freelancers.