Digital policy envisages paperless govt, better broadband footprint

Published November 25, 2018
Proposes lower taxes on telecom services, use of technology in health, education, agriculture  ─ File photo
Proposes lower taxes on telecom services, use of technology in health, education, agriculture ─ File photo

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Digital Policy has envisaged a paperless government, enhanced broadband footprint, promotion of innovation through tech startups, and support for entrepreneurs in the next five years.

The policy approved by the provincial cabinet on Thursday suggests it will bring about digital transformation in KP by leveraging information and communication technologies (ICTs) for job creation, connectivity, empowerment and inclusive economic growth and it will serve as guide for the KP IT Board for the next five years.

According to the document, the focus is on thematic areas i.e. digital access, governance, economy and skills to bring about the digital transformation of the province.

Proposes lower taxes on telecom services, use of technology in health, education, agriculture

“The government will strive to ensure all areas of the province have accessible and reliable Internet connectivity, enable government institutions to adopt digital technologies and innovation to improve service delivery, promote development of digital economy through private sector, improve digital literacy, inclusion of women, youth and marginalised groups and promote public private partnership,” it said.

The policy recommended reduction of tax on mobile and fixed broadband services in KP to facilitate service providers to enhance their footprint and upgrade technology infrastructure, phase-wise transformation of broadband services from copper based networks to optical fiber based network, promotion of use of technology in health, education and agriculture, connection of remote areas and populations to developed areas, and promotion and encouraging of investment through public-private partnership model into digital access projects.

Regarding digital governance, it proposed the introduction of digital technologies in government services for improved service delivery, transparency, annual allocation for digital governance initiatives, adoption of cloud based services to reduce IT infrastructure and maintenance costs and adoption of global data protection regulations, implementation of standard cyber security protocols across government departments and implement open-data framework across government to improve transparency.

“Efforts will be made for the development of digital economy, promotion of digital payments to increase financial inclusion, efficient financial transaction and expand documented economy, provision of mechanisms to provide financial investment for startups and SMEs, supportive regulatory framework and support business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the province,” it said.

The policy said the government would also set up a coordination committee headed by the chief secretary to oversee progress on various initiatives and monitor key strategic indicators.

The committee will consist of 10 members including additional chief secretary, secretaries of finance, science and information technology department, managing director of KPITB and not more six persons from private, public or development sector relevant to the implementation of the policy.

Special assistant to the chief minister on science and information technology Kamran Khan Bangash told reporters that the policy focused on making the government paperless, skill building in coding and programming, ensuring people’s access to the Internet, and digitising the province’s economy.

He said the government would make efforts to promote digital payment in the province.

Mr Bangash said the digital policy was likely to be formally launched during a grand event in Islamabad to attract investors and entrepreneurs.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

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