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ISLAMABAD: The Digital Pakistan Policy (DPP) 2021 is expected to be launched by end August 2021, envisaging providing the necessary elements to tab the digital global market, economic growth and citizen empowerment. This was stated by Member Information Technology (IT) of the Ministry Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Junaid Imam, while addressing at a two-day consultative meeting on DPP 2021.

Oxfam in Pakistan and Bargad in collaboration with Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MOITT) organised consultative meeting on DPP 2021. The meeting discussed ways to include rural youth especially women, transgender persons, and disabled persons in the DPP 2021.

Participants were briefed about the process of developing the DPP 2021 by the ministry officials.

Imam said the DPP 2021 was being formulated through a comprehensive consultative process from all four provinces and the two regions (Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir).

He said the policy was a start to the digital era for Pakistan and would provide the necessary elements to tab the digital global market.

Digitisation is not only about business, it is also for providing services to marginalised groups. Overall objective of the DPP 2021 was economic growth and citizen empowerment, he added.

Sabiha Shaheen, executive director, Bargad said that policy design was as important as the policy implementation. The real issue is to make policy work for the marginalised groups in implementation. Seher Afsheen from Oxfam stressed the need for robust digital transformation.

Highlighting the benefits of a digital Pakistan, she shared how she foresees 'the DPP 2021' paving the way to enable growth and development, especially for the youth and women, who represent roughly 60 percent and 49 percent respectively of the population. Ensuring women and girls have equal access to Information Computer Technologies will help reduce inequalities, support gender equality, increase productivity, and improve access to health and education, thereby ensuring equitable participation in social, political and economic spheres, thus, breaking barriers of isolation.

Digital transformation can help in creating a future that is equal, where women and girls along with marginalised communities will be able to access better opportunities and live without the menace of poverty. Barkan Saeed, chairman PASHA, said the digital policy should specify actionable initiatives.

Rural youth need affordable internet, devices and skills to benefit from Pakistan's potential in export market globally. Raza Sukhera gave a presentation on the DPP.

The meeting was attended among others by officials of the MoITT and representatives of the Federal Commerce Ministry, Kamyab Jawan National Youth Development Programme and Office of the PM Advisor on Youth Affairs, Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Climate Change, National Commission on the Status of Women, Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI), Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT and ITES, Oxfam Youth Advisory Board (YAB), academia, INGOs, civil society and youth organisations/networks, private sector, incubators, practitioners of digital social enterprises, transgender persons, differently-abled persons, and parliamentarians. The day focused on sharing the findings and progress of DPP 2021 with the participants followed by group works around three pillars of the policy, which were an inclusion of (1) rural youth especially women, (2) transgender persons, and (3) differently-abled persons.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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