IT department to be shut down


Express April 19, 2010

LAHORE: The Punjab government has decided to abolish Information Technology Department owing to the poor performance of the officials posted in it, The Express Tribune has learnt.

“It would be abolished and its tasks shifted to the PITB by amending Rules of Business, 1974,” an official of chief minister’s secretariat said on condition of anonymity. He added, “No funds would be issued for the IT department in the upcoming budget, and a notification for winding up the operations of the department would be issued by May after approval of the chief minister.”

The chief minister’s secretariat has sent a letter to Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD) to make recommendations on wrapping up the IT department and assigning its tasks to Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB). A summary accompanying the letter stated that the department was established in 2001.

It was assigned to make use of the information technology in the public service sector and to enhance work efficiency in other departments. Earlier, the government established the PITB in 1999. It was an autonomous body constituted to “develop IT as a major sphere of economic activity, and promote its use in the public and private sectors for increasing efficiency and competitiveness”.

It was learnt that the civil bureaucracy dominated the department since inception while the IT experts and professionals were not allowed to work autonomously. It has been headed by a district management group (DMG) officer in BS-20 (titled: secretary), while the PITB has been chaired by a professional degree holder. The heads of both these departments have reportedly been at loggerheads since day one.

PITB has been attached and detached for five times with the P&D and the IT department respectively. The government allocated Rs64.89 million for the operating expenses of the IT department, during the current fiscal year. Around 91 staffers including 43 officers have been employed at the department. The funds saved by closing the IT department could be used to meet the current expenditures of the PITB.

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