ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration on Tuesday launched a smartphone application that allows citizens to check the official prices of household items and lodge complaints against price hikes.

The app, which is called Durust Daam, has been made and is managed by the National Information Technology Board (NITB). It was launched at the NITB head office by Information Technology (IT) and Telecommunication Minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Islamabad Chief Commissioner Amer Ali Ahmed.

The app will update users daily on the rates of essential commodities such as grains, pulses, meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables.

Durust Daam is managed by the National Information Technology Board

The minister said that the project will be replicated in other cities with the help of local authorities after its success in the capital.

“Pakistan has lagged behind in many areas and one of it is the usage of IT in daily life, especially by government departments,” Mr Siddiqui said, adding: “Currently there are instances that traders and shopkeepers develop reasons to sell commodities at increased prices, and the widespread usage of this app will develop awareness among consumers.”

However, residents will find discrepancies between the official rates listed on the app and the prices of products in the market, as naan and roti weighing 120 grams, which are to be sold at Rs10 and Rs8, respectively, are being sold for Rs12 and Rs10 with no guarantees regarding their weight.

Similarly, the price of a kilogram of boneless veal listed on the app is Rs580, but the same product costs Rs600 or more at butchers’ rates.

Mr Ahmed said the app will help counter illegal profiteering by shopkeepers and residents will be able to lodge complaints about overcharging through it.

“Nowadays, people find it difficult to physically go to thedeputy commissioner’sofficeor a complaints’ centre to lodge a complaint, whereas everybody has a smartphone and it is easy to lodge complaints online,” he said.

The NITB is attached to the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication. The department was created after the merger of the former Pakistan Computer Bureau and the Electronic Government Directorate. It provides technical guidance and consultancy services to public sector organisations for the identification of key areas for automation and e-government projects.

The board also launched an Islamabad city app in collaboration with the Capital Development Authority in 2017, which provides information on the capital.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2019