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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications through the Universal Service Fund (USF) launched a “Smart Village” project in four provinces, Islamabad, and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The project will be funded and technically supported by the International Telecom-munication Union and Huawei Technologies, Pakistan. The project will set up a center in a backward village equipped with modern facilities from which not only the people of the area will be trained to use IT facilities but also they will be encouraged to incorporate it in their daily life. Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque inaugurated the ceremony with Federal Secretary for IT and Telecommunication Muhammad Sohail Rajput, Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary, CEO USF, Dr Ismail Shah, Area Representative for Southeast Asia, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and Mark Meng, CEO, Huawei, on Wednesday.

Addressing the occasion, Haque said, “Smart Village project is another step towards realising Prime Minister’s vision of Digital Pakistan. The Ministry of IT and Telecommunication through USF is partnering with ITU and Huawei to digitally transform remote and rural communities by connecting and empowering them through better access to a range of digital services in the domain of health, education, commerce, and livelihood. The project emphasizes on the whole-of-government approach and promotes cross-sector collaboration and multi-stakeholder engagement to further improve cost-effectiveness and sharing of resources and expertise in delivering the services to citizens. Initially one Smart Village will be established each at Islamabad, Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan”.

The federal minister said that the National Information Technology Board (NITB) launched more than 30 mobile applications, government web portals and websites related to public services. The benefits of these applications can be availed by the general public only when they access them.

He said that the effects of the steps taken under the Digital Pakistan Vision are now beginning to show. We have started the first e-cabinet, working on e-Parliament, e-office and internet voting also.

The federal minister congratulated the teams of the USF, the ITU and Huawei and ensured his support in the implementation of the project.

He also said that the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication will continue to undertake more challenging and productive programmes in the future for the promotion of IT and Telecommunication-related services. Sharing his thoughts at the ceremony, CEO USF Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary said, “Smart Village project is consistent with USF’s mission to empower the unserved and underserved communities. This partnership will permit the USF, the ITU, and Huawei to mutually serve their mission.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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