Minister offers support for enhancing broadband, internet provision

Updated April 10, 2020

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Chaudhry emphasised the need for e-governance in the current circumstances during an online talk. — APP/File
Chaudhry emphasised the need for e-governance in the current circumstances during an online talk. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Hussain Chaudhry on Thursday offered support to the Ministry of Information and Technology to enhance the provision of broadband and internet services across Pakistan.

Mr Chaudhry emphasised the need for e-governance in the current circumstances during an online talk titled ‘Role of Ministry of Science and Technology amid Covid-19’ organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute.

In response to a question, he said the prime minister will soon announce the inclusion of doctors and paramedical staff in the government’s Shuhada package in the event that someone dies while treating Covid-19 patients.

He added that the science and technology ministry can help produce testing kits, ventilators, personal protective equipment and hand sanitisers in its own capacity. He called on the private sector to work with the public sector in this regard.

“The ministry’s doors are open for public policy think tanks like SDPI to come forward and enhance the scope of research and development in policy responses,” he said.

In the wake of harvesting season in the country, Mr Chaudhry said the ministry is working to provide technology to prepare affordable sanitisers at a large scale to be used for safe agricultural operations and construction workers as well as other industries.

SDPI Executive Director Abid Qaiyum Suleri said the war against the coronavirus needs to be fought on many fronts, and one of the important fronts is science and technology. From the production of testing kits to ventilators, and from testing the quality of available sanitisers in the market to their production at affordable prices, the role of the Ministry of Science and Technology is crucial, he said.

Dr Suleri offered the government SDPI’s support and cooperation in connection with policy research and outreach.

Mr Chaudhry also posted on Twitter that the Engineering Council and the Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan (Drap) have received new designs for ventilators.

He said that Drap has decided to adopt the British design for ventilators. After the quality parameters of the designs are approved, local manufacturing of ventilators will be initiated, he said.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2020