Punjab’s first-ever IT Policy 2018 approved by the cabinet

Written by TechJuice ·  2 min read >
Arfa Software Technology Park

The first-ever information technology policy of Punjab, the Punjab IT Policy 2018, has been approved by the Punjab cabinet in its farewell meeting held this week on Wednesday.

The IT policy is based on five pillars which include supporting the technology industry, making sure to bridge the digital divide in the province, usage of technology for governance, civil centric services and entrepreneurship.

Punjab IT Policy

1. Supporting the industry:

The Punjab Government has taken several initiatives in the past including but not limited to the establishment of IT Towers, e-Khidmat Markaz, tax exemption for IT and ITes and eStamping service. Building on top of that, the government will work to introduce special economic zones, new IT towers not only in Lahore but other cities of the province as well. The IT firms established will be given tax holidays to encourage IT-centric work in the province.

2. Digital for All:

In order to bridge the digital divide and equip everyone with the skills of the future, the government has already taken the initiative of e-Rozgaar, in which trainers are imparting digital skills in different districts of Punjab. Additionally, e-Libraries have been set up for the public, Wifi-Hots for free usage are able in public areas, textbooks are also made available online. Moving forward, Government of Punjab will double down on these efforts and work to introduce these facilities in wider regions of Punjab.

3. eGovernance:

The Government of Punjab has taken several initiatives in the past few years applauded by local and international platforms. This includes computerization of police centers, the establishment of Police Khidmat centers in 36 districts, digitization of criminal records, hospital management system, attendance systems for doctors etc. All of these initiatives have drastically improved the performance of different government departments.

The Government will continue to automate and digitize other government departments and will work on improving the current systems by establishing citizen helplines for getting feedback.

4. Citizen Centric Centers:

Citizen-centric centers will be established in different districts giving the citizens a chance to interact directly with the government, share their feedback and learn how different departments of government are working to help them.

Already established Citizen feedback system will be further expanded.

5. Entrepreneurship:

The government has already established several entrepreneurship centers in the province including Plan9, PlanX, TechHub – a coworking space, and then several Plan9 centers in different government, semi-government universities. In the upcoming years, the government will establish a technology fund and also help the angel investors invest in up and coming startups of Pakistan.

The Punjab Digital Policy 2018 had been under discussion for a long time and its progress was shared several times at the PITB roundtable conferences held almost twice every year. More than 150 people including Technology Industry Experts, Semi-government bodies, PITB employees and people in the academia partook in formulating this policy. The policy was also made public for feedback before it was sent to the cabinet for approval.

Dr. Umar Saif, while speaking to the media said that this policy is a roadmap for making the province a hub for information technology.

During the past 6 years, we have seen Punjab becoming the leading hub for IT developments. Several entrepreneurship incubation programs, IT firms, universities and e-government facilities have uprooted in the province. Will the policy and its roadmap be followed wholeheartedly by the upcoming government, only time will tell?

Written by TechJuice
Pakistan's premier website covering everything about Technology, Startups and Entrepreneurship! Email: Profile