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Jun 01, 2020 PRINT EDITION

ISLAMABAD: The first digital policy of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government was introduced on Thursday with objective to promote development of a digital economy through thriving private sector and digital workforce.

The other objectives of the policy 2018-2023 are to enable the government institutions to adopt digital technologies and innovation to improve service delivery and provide guiding principles for execution of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board (KPITB) functions whereas KP Digital Strategy provides a detailed five-year roadmap.

Addressing a ceremony here, Provincial Minister for Finance, Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra said the KP government is focusing more on digital transformation now and is setting commendable goals for next five years.

He said the policy is expected to ensure that all areas of KP have accessible and reliable Internet connectivity, improve digital literacy, digital skills at all levels of education and training and ensure inclusion of women, youth and marginalized groups besides promoting public-private partnerships and women empowerment.

He said the policy covers digital aspirations of the Province for period between 2018 and 2023.

The government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), even in its previous tenure, focused a lot on digitization of different aspects of government.

Some of the initiatives taken were online FIR system, computerization of land records and online complaint cell. With this digital policy, the KP government is aiming to improve a number of key governance areas along with creating a suitable environment for investment in ICT sector.

Managing Director KPITB, Dr Shahbaz Khan highlighted few important points mentioned in digital policy which include: introducing digital technologies into government services for improving efficiency, transparency and transaction costs, adopt Cloud-Based Services to reduce IT infrastructure and maintenance cost, implementing standard cyber-security protocols across government departments, adoption of Open-Source Software where feasible to achieve cost reduction and encouraging SMEs and implement an Open-Data Framework across government to improve transparency, accountability, and innovation.

Steps have also been proposed to improve digital infrastructure and these include tax reductions on mobile and fixed broadband services, phase-wise transformation of broadband services from copper-based networks to optical fiber-based network to improve quality of service at an affordable cost and promote use of technology in various sectors, especially health, education, and agriculture.

Some initiatives have also been proposed to promote digital skills and create a digital economy to move towards a society less reliant on cash.

Plans to maximize use of technology in primary, secondary and tertiary education as well as technical, vocational education and training for improved learning outcomes, promote digital payments and establish mechanisms to provide financial investments for digital startups and SMEs are also proposed.

It was informed that a coordination committee under chairmanship of Chief Secretary, KP has been set up to ensure implementation of the policy.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2018